Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Starter Evolutions, Explained
A cat, a duck, and a croc walk into a gym...
Every single mainline Pokémon game has had three friendly creatures to start off your journey with, and Scarlet and Violet are no exception. In the land of Paldea, your professor offers you the grassy feline Sprigatito, the feisty croc Fuecoco, and the dapper duck, Quaxly.
The three starters, just like their previous counterparts, have two evolutions that make them become even stronger as the game progresses. Here are all of the details you need about each starter and their evolutions.
Sprigatito, Floragato, Meowscarada
Sprigatito is a pure Grass-type cat that starts off on all four of its legs and has the highest speed stat of the three Paldea starters. It also carries that trait throughout its evolutionary line.
This line has the Overgrow ability, which makes Grass-type attacks stronger if its health hits critical range. Its Hidden Ability is Protean, which changes the Pokémon’s type to the type of move that it’s about to use. So, if Sprigatito uses Play Rough, a Fairy-type attack, it’ll change its own type to Fairy.
Sprigatito evolves into Floragato at level 16 and now stands on its hind legs. Its Speed and Attack stats are still high, making it a fantastic physical attacker. It retains its Grass typing, making it susceptible to Fire, Poison, Bug, Ice, and Flying attacks.
The final evolution of Sprigatito is Meowscarada, a creature that appears to be based on a feline and magician—it arrives at level 36. Meowscarada also becomes a dual Grass and Dark type, giving it some extra advantages against Psychic and Ghost types. However, it also gains weaknesses to Fairy and Fighting-type attacks.
Its signature attack is Flower Trick, which always hits its target, unless the opponent is using a move like Dig or Fly, which makes the opponent invulnerable for a turn. Flower Trick is also guaranteed to land a critical hit, which means it can pierce through enemy defense stat increases. If the target has an ability like Battle Armor or Shell Armor, which blocks critical hits, then Flower Trick will not land one.
Meowscarada is the fastest final evolution of the three Paldea starters, boasting an impressive Speed stat of 123 and Attack stat of 110. This means that it's faster than most Pokémon and will most likely get to act first during battle. With its high Attack stat, the best moves for Meowscarada would be physical ones such as Flower Trick and Night Slash to accentuate its Grass and Dark typing.
Other great attacking options include Play Rough, a Fairy-type move that can hit Fighting and Dragon types for super effective damage. Thunder Punch is great for smacking Flying types that Meowscarada would otherwise have trouble against, while Acrobatics can waste its fellow Grass types.
Brick Break is also a potential option to hit Steel-type Pokémon as both Flower Trick and Night Slash would not be very effective against them. If you want Meowscarada to be even stronger, Hone Claws is a great way to buff its prowess in the middle of battle by increasing both its Attack and Accuracy stats.
Fuecoco, Crocalor, Skeledirge
Fuecoco is a pure Fire-type Pokémon resembling a little crocodile mixed with a chili pepper. While it's the slowest of all three starters, it packs a mighty Special Attack stat that separates itself from the others.
The evolutionary line has the Blaze ability, which increases the power of Fire-type attacks when health is at critical levels. For its Hidden Ability, it gains Unaware, which completely ignores an opponent’s stat changes. So, if an opponent has increased its Attack stat, Fuecoco will take the normal amount of damage it usually would without that boost. The opposite is true as well.
Fueco evolves into Crocalor at level 16, and still remains a pure Fire type Pokémon. It has weaknesses to Ground, Water, and Rock-type attacks. Crocolar evolves into Skeledirge at level 36 and gains an additional Ghost typing. As a result, Skeledirge also becomes weak to Ghost and Dark-type attacks.
Skeledirge’s signature move is Torch Song, which also has an incredible side effect. After using the move, Skeledirge’s Special Attack stat increases, which in turn makes all of its Special category moves hit even harder. This synergizes perfectly with Skeledirge’s high Special Attack stat of 110.
Unfortunately, Skeledirge’s move pool is quite poor compared to the other two starter Pokémon. However, it learns just enough interesting moves to get by, but you shouldn’t expect much flexibility.
Torch Song is a must-have, and Skeledirge’s Ghost-type attacking move can either be Shadow Ball for general use purposes, or Hex for more specialized situations. Shadow Ball does consistent damage on its own, but Hex out damages it if the opponent is inflicted with a status condition such as Burn or Poison. Combining Will-O-Wisp to burn enemies while following up with Hex will dish out heavy damage. Without the status condition on the opponent, Hex will always be weaker than Shadow Ball.
Another must-have attacking option for Skeledirge is Earth Power. It has a 10% chance of decreasing the opponent’s Special Defense. So if that occurs and Skeledirge has already received a few Special Attack increases from Torch Song, then the opponent will be a complete pushover. Earth Power also deals with pesky Rock types that it would have trouble against and can also hit Electric types for super effective damage. Solar Beam could be another attacking option to hit water, rock, and ground types that Skeledirge is weak to. But unless sunny weather is in play that can help the Solarbeam speed up its two-turn charge requirement, it’s not worth it.
Quaxly, Quaxwell, Quaquaval
Quaxly is a pure Water-type Pokémon that resembles a duck and is in fact the only starter Pokémon that is foreign to Paldea. Quaxly functions similarly to Sprigagito in that they both focus on physical attacks. However, where Quaxly’s evolutionary line sacrifices in Speed, it makes up with stronger firepower.
Quaxly’s ability is Torrent, which increases the strength of its Water-type attacks when its health reaches critical levels. The Quaxly line also arguably has the best Hidden Ability out of all the starters: Moxie. Every time it knocks a Pokémon out of battle, it gains a boost to its Attack stat. This complements the line’s emphasis on physical attacks perfectly.
Quaxly evolves into Quaxwell at level 16 and Quaquaval at level 36. When it reaches its final evolution Quaquaval earns a new Fighting type, which means it can hit Normal, Steel, Dark, and Ice types very hard, while giving it weaknesses to Flying, Psychic, and Fairy attacks.
Quaquaval is slower than Meowscarada, sitting at a base Speed stat of 85 compared to the latter’s 110. Quaquaval, however, hits harder with a 120 base Attack stat. Additionally, it also has the most flexible moveset of the three starters, having a variety of different useful options.
Quaquaval’s signature move is the excellent Water-type move, Aqua Step, which attacks the enemy while also boosting its own Speed stat. It also learns the amazing Close Combat move, a powerful Fighting-type attack that decimates enemies at the expense of its defenses. These two moves are essential for Quaquaval.
For the other two moves, another great attack is Ice Spinner, which can hit Flying, Grass, Bug, and Dragon-type opponents hard, the former two of which Quaquaval would have lots of trouble dealing with. Brave Bird is also a very powerful attack that can destroy Fighting, Grass, and Bug-type Pokémon but at the cost of its HP—it’s perfect for those who want to go all out. Acrobatics is a decent alternative to Brave Bird if you’re worried about the HP recoil, but requires Quaquaval to not hold an item in order for it to even be remotely powerful.
If you want to boost its Attack stat to even more astronomical levels, Swords Dance is a great choice. If Quaquaval can manage to secure a single Swords Dance boost with a few Speed stat increases from Aqua Step, then it can potentially completely bulldoze through the entire opponent’s team without hesitation.