Since Generation V (and in Generation III), all of the starter Pokemon have received signature moves. Some of them stay unique to that Pokemon, while others become widely distributed the very next generation, but for at least one set of games, certain starters can claim certain moves as theirs and theirs only.

RELATED: 8 Pokemon Moves That Were Nerfed

What peaks most competitive Pokemon battlers' interests is how viable they are to use in competitive battles, and how they compare with other starter signature moves in that regard. These ten starter signatures have proven to be the best of that bunch, either because they make their exclusive owners more viable, or have become commonly used since widespread distribution.

Note: As long as a move has been the signature move of a starter Pokemon at any point, even if was just for a single set of games (i.e. signatures in X & Y but not in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire), it counts for this list.

10 Spiky Shield, Chesnaught

XY Anime Pokemon Grass type Starter

Generation VI added quite a few other signature protection moves, such as Aegislash's King Shield, Klefki's Crafty Shield, and another starter signature, Greninja's Mat Block. However, Chesnaught's Spiky Shield proves to be much more practical and viable than the very latter.

Spiky Shield, now a move with decently wide distribution among Grass-types, protects the user and harms any potential attackers that initiate contact to the tune of 1/8 of their HP. Of course, as all protection moves do, it has a higher chance of failing the more times it is used consecutively. It's great for surprising physical attackers and keeping them honest, as well as protection's usual purpose of stalling out turns.


9 Snipe Shot, Inteleon

Inteleon uses Snipe Shot in a snowy Galar river in Pokémon Sword & Shield

This Generation VIII starter signature move puts itself in the ring of special Water-type moves as the only one to provide what it does: a high critical hit ratio. Other than that, though, it's a fairly standard Water-type move, with 80 base power and 100% accuracy.

While the move isn't great in a vacuum, Snipe Shot is excellent for a Pokemon like Inteleon which has Sniper as a hidden ability. A Pokemon like that, given a turn to use Focus Energy, could make Snipe Shot a deadly weapon, getting critical hits almost every time. That's more than enough to magnify the otherwise subpar 80 base power, and it works as a functioning competitive niche in lower tiers.

8 Throat Chop, Incineroar

Ash's Torracat Kukui Alola League Pokemon Sun Moon Anime

Incineroar succeeds Greninja and precedes Cinderace as the one starter per generation to get two signature moves. This one of Incineroar's two is pretty niche, but can be extremely useful under the right circumstance.

RELATED: The 15 Strongest Dark-Type Pokemon In The Anime

The Dark-type Throat Chop deals 80 base power's worth of damage while also preventing its target from using sound moves for two turns. This move is tailor-made to stop Pokemon like Loudred, Toxtricity, and even fellow Alolan starter Primarina, whose main methods of attack are usually sound-based moves. Since it's been widely distributed after its introduction as a TR, Pokemon like Barraskewda, Sirfetch'd, and Glastrier can rely on it for some Dark-type coverage.

7 Sparkling Aria, Primarina

Primarina using Sparkling Aria during a contest in the Pokemon anime

Primarina's signature move has remained a signature for the two generations it has existed, not experiencing the widespread distribution Incineroar's moves have gotten as TR moves. Nonetheless, it's a very good move, being essentially a Surf clone with a few tweaks.

Sparkling Aria is a 90 base power move with 100% accuracy, which is exactly what Surf is. The differences with it are actually negative; it's a sound-based move, which makes Pokemon with Soundproof immune to it, and it heals any potential burns a target may have. These moves make it worse than Surf, and thus cause competitive players to rely on Surf instead. Still, it's a solid move that is still useful under most circumstances.

6 Blaze Kick, Blaziken

blaziken playing with fire pokemon

Generation III was the first generation to truly give its starters signature moves, with the Fire-type starter Blaziken getting Blaze Kick. While other Pokemon started to learn it via level-up and breeding the very next generation, it's only recently gotten widespread distribution in Generation VIII, also as a TR.

Blaziken's signature move is an 85 base power physical move. While that base power might be a bit disappointing, it also has a high critical hit ratio and a 10% chance to burn its target. Now that it's a TR move, it works pretty well as a surprise coverage move for Pokemon like Mienshao, Zeraora, and Galarian Zapdos.

5 Muddy Water, Swampert

Pokemon Hoenn Starter Signature Move Water-Type

While Swampert's former signature move is technically banned in most competitive formats thanks to it affecting accuracy, there's no denying its usefulness in a Water-type Pokemon's arsenal.

This move introduced in Generation III is another Surf clone like Sparkling Aria, with a few more tweaks. Muddy Water deals 90 base power damage, and while it's less accurate at 85%, it drops its targets' accuracy a stage 30% of the time. Much has been said about relying on accuracy drops as a strategy, but it's certainly useful in a playthrough, if not in competitive battles where it's legal. Most Water-types can learn it too — via TR or breeding, if not via level-up.

4 Pyro Ball, Cinderace

Cinderace Using Pyro Ball, Pokemon Sword And Shield

As mentioned, Cinderace was given a bit of special treatment, having two signature moves while Rillaboom and Inteleon each only got one: Drum Beating and Snipe Shot, respectively. In terms of pure power, Pyro Ball has pretty much every other starter signature move beat.

Pyro Ball is a massive 120 base power move, with 90% accuracy. Aside from a standard 10% chance to burn the target, it doesn't really bring any secondary effects, aside from a few potential drawbacks of thawing frozen targets, not affecting Bulletproof Pokemon, and that 10% chance to miss. Still, in terms of being a straightforward damage grenade, Pyro Ball does its job excellently.

3 Mystical Fire, Delphox

mystical fire pokemon xy fire type starter

While Delphox is one of the worst starters, competitively speaking, its signature move is an interesting one that, like Blaziken's Blaze Kick, works excellently as a coverage move with a little somethin' to it.

Mystical Fire's 75 base power might not jump off the screen, but its guarantee to drop the target's Special Attack might cause some trouble. While you can't rely on it as a total offensive bomb, it can be an unexpected way to totally power-down special attackers on the opposing team. A lot of special Fairy-types like Clefable, Togekiss, and Hatterene learn it along with the usual Fire-types, so it's a decent option to check weak, unsuspecting Steel-types.

2 Court Change, Cinderace

Cinderace Using Court Change On Dottler, Pokemon Sword And Shield

No other move diminishes the value of entry hazards as much as Cinderace's other signature move, Court Change. It's one of the main reasons why Cinderace was recently banned from most competitive formats, and rightfully so; it had to be done just so moves such as Stealth Rock could be viable again.

The Normal-type status move switches over entry hazards and screens from your side of the field to the other, and vice versa. This keeps tons of hazard setters honest, and adds onto Defog's role of removing hazards by giving them to the opponent. That's a luxury only Cinderace has, and it should probably stay that way.

1 Leaf Blade, Sceptile

Ash Sceptile Defeats Tobias Darkrai Leaf Blade

While it is now considered to be the prototype physical Grass-type attack, Leaf Blade was once, believe it or not, Sceptile's signature move. It didn't necessarily make Sceptile much more viable than it was in its debut generation, but since its widespread distribution, other physical Grass-types like Kartana have turned it into a staple.

RELATED: Pokemon: Every Type Ranked By Their Attacking Moves

It's become a prototype thanks to its reliability; you can count on it to give solid 90 base power damage without any potential shenanigans from low accuracy. The high critical hit ratio potentially makes it even more dangerous, and its value as a widespread go-to move for physical Grass-types can't be understated.

NEXT: The 10 Best Legendary Pokemon Moments In The Games

Off road cars in forza with the trans flag in the background
"I Quit The Game Immediately": Trans Players Respond To Forza Horizon 5's Deadnaming

Forza Horizon 5 addresses you by the name on your Microsoft account, but for some trans players, that has unexpected consequences.

Read Next
About The Author