A not so spoiler alert at this point, but… Pokemon’s Sword and Shield starter Pokemon suck. However, not for the reasons you may think.
There has been a lot of discussion on social media about the generation VIII starting Pokemon Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble and their evolution. Most of the complaints are of the aesthetic variety and people seem to just not like how they look. While these three may not be what fans of the series expected, Game Freak threw us a bit of a curve ball which allows for each of the starters to keep their original typing throughout their evolution process. Grookey as Grass, Scorbunny as Fire, and Sobble as Water. This is something we really haven’t seen lately and is definitely a rarity within a series which has added complexity by layering typing for the last few generations.
The pure typing is very easy to combat against right out of the gate and your rival picks whatever type you are strong against, making the game even easier. While Pokemon is intended to have a low entry point, the oversimplification of the typing is relatively bothersome.
The good news here is that it doesn’t matter which of the three starters you pick, because they all suck. I am not referring to their stats (all baseline 530 which is strong) or even impact the the game-play itself since all are viable to get you through gym battles. Instead I refer to creating teams and battling.
I took a crack at trying to find a way to fit in the starters on to one of my top 3 battle teams, and found it to be a really tough thing to do. there are just too many better options. Chewtle, Blipbug, Rookidee, and Rolycoly are all available really early in the game and all are more viable at higher levels than any one of the three starters.
With 4 options available before any of the three hit their second evolution, you can see how the starters can quickly become an afterthought. Seeing as you have to pick one, the obvious choice becomes Scorbunny simply due to the lack of fire types in the game.
Scorbunny will outperform Vulpix, but eventually Rolycoly will emerge as the better long term option in the battle-meta. If you don’t go with Scorbunny grab a Vulpix and evolve it into a Ninetales quickly with a Fire Stone found early on (after first gym battle)
Sobble really isn’t worth the pick since one of your first encounters will be against a Water/Rock type Chewtle.
Grookey has some short time appeal, but Blipbug becomes a strong Psychic/Bug type that can be paired well with Flying/Steel Rookidee and Yamper is available early as well to take down water opponents. Seedot is a little more rare, but can be found and evolved into a Shiftry with a readily available Leaf Stone before your first gym battle.
So, no, they don’t look as cool as we all had hoped, but they suck because they are outclassed so early by such common Pokemon.