From Pokémon Red and Blue in 1998 to the Pokémon Sword and Shield in 2019, the most important question every Pokémon trainer faces at the start of their journey is choosing their starter. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are no exception, providing players with the difficult choice of Turtwig, Chimchar or Piplup, just like in the original titles: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. In this guide, we’ll talk about each starter’s strengths and weaknesses, their evolutions, moves and more to determine which starter is the best in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Turtwig (Grass-type Starter)
First up is Turtwig, the Grass-type starter in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Turtwig is known as the “Tiny Leaf Pokémon” and resembles a green tortoise with a tree sprouting from its head. It evolves into Grotle at Level 18 and Torterra at Level 32, which gains Ground as its secondary typing. Grotle is a larger tortoise with a long, yellow shell and green bushes on its back. Torterra is much larger, with its shell hosting an entire tree, as well as rocks, mud and grass.
Turtwig takes 2x damage from Flying, Poison, Bug, Fire and Ice-type moves, while taking 1/2 damage from Ground, Water, Grass and Electric-type moves. When evolved into its final form, Torterra, it takes 2x damage from Flying, Bug and Fire-type moves; 4x damage from Ice-type moves; and 1/2 damage from Ground and Rock-type moves.
Turtwig is a solid choice for a starter, due to its STAB (same type attack bonus) moves that are super effective against Pokémon in almost every gym in the game. Roark is the first gym leader you’ll fight early on in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, whose Pokémon are all weak to Grass-type moves and can effectively be one-shot by Turtwig.
Turtwig and its evolutions are also useful against Crasher Wake in the game’s fourth gym, Byron in the sixth gym, Candice in the seventh gym and Volkner in the eighth. The second and third gyms are the only places where Turtwig doesn’t shine, but your need for a Flying-type Pokémon will provide you with super effective Pokémon against both of those gyms.
Chimchar (Fire-type Starter)
Your second choice is Chimchar, the Fire-type starter in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Chimchar is an orange monkey with a flaming tail, known as the “Chimp Pokémon”. It evolves into Monferno at Level 14 and Infernape at Level 36, which gains Fighting-type as its secondary typing. Monferno becomes taller, with longer limbs and more intricate details, while Infernape gains gold coloring throughout its body and a mane of fire atop its head.
Chimchar takes 2x damage from Water, Ground and Rock-type moves, while taking 1/2 damage from Fire, Grass, Ice, Bug, Steel and Fairy-type attacks. Infernape, its final evolution, takes 2x damage from Water, Ground, Flying and Psychic-type moves, while taking 1/2 damage from Fire, Grass, Electric, Dark and Steel and 1/4 damage from Bug-type moves.
Chimchar is another great choice, as Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl only offer one other Fire-type pokemon; Ponyta. Houndoom is also available in Pokémon Brilliant Pearl, but requires a Poké Radar to obtain.
Infernape also has the extra advantage of its dual Fire- and Fighting-type, its access to powerful physical moves, like Close Combat, and its high offensive stats. It’s especially powerful later on in the story against the Elite 4 and later gyms, as well as the game’s second gym Leader, Gardenia.
Piplup (Water-type Starter)
Finally, there’s Piplup, the Water-type starter in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Piplup is known as the “Penguin Pokémon”, for very obvious reasons. It evolves into Prinplup at Level 16 and Empoleon at Level 36, which gains Steel as its dual type. Prinplup resembles a more mature penguin, while Empoleon gains sharp wings and a trident-like design on its face.
Piplup takes 2x damage from Electric and Grass-type moves, while taking 1/2 damage from Fire, Water, Ice and Steel. Empoleon, its final evolution, takes 2x damage from Electric, Fighting and Ground-type moves; takes 1/2 damage from Normal, Water, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Dragon, Fairy-type moves; 1/4 damage from Ice and Steel; and completely resists Poison-type attacks.
Piplup and its evolutions’ versatility also makes it a fantastic choice. Empoleon’s huge list of resistances makes it a strong contender in the majority of match-ups in the game. Like Turtwig, Piplup also performs well against Roark, the game’s first gym leader. The only drawback in choosing Piplup is the many viable options for Water- and Steel-type Pokémon that appear in the wild.
Which is the Best Starter in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl?
Arguably, Chimchar is the strongest choice of the three starters in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl‘s story. Fire- and Fighting-type is an incredibly powerful combination, especially in the late game, where it can singlehandedly demolish most of the Elite 4 and even the Champion. Its offensive stats and versatile learnset allow it to stand toe-to-toe with just about any Pokémon, even ones it’s weak against.
However, we simply recommend choosing your favorite starter. All three Pokémon are perfectly optimal and are extremely similar in their strengths and weaknesses. Choosing one over the others won’t put you at any sort of disadvantage.
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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are available on the 19th November 2021 on Nintendo Switch.