Pokémon Emerald along with Ruby and Sapphire introduced players to the Hoenn region. Along with the new region came of course, three new starter Pokémon. All games of generation three (omitting FireRed and LeafGreen), Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald have slight gameplay variances and important battles that differ including in Pokémon Emerald.
Depending on how you play Pokémon, different starters are better for different strategies. Below we’ll cover the strengths of the different starters and why we would pick them for our team.
Gen 3 Starter Pokémon Ranked
Number One Pick: Mudkip
Mudkip is hands down the best early game starter for Pokémon Emerald. Choosing Mudkip gives a good mix of offense and defense along with a solid movepool. This playthrough gives the player type advantages against the first, third, and fourth Gyms – which is why it’s such a strong early game choice. Mudkip’s movepool has utility in his kit with Surf and can also learn a devastating move like Earthquake to give a mid to late game power spike. Not to mention it has type advantage against Team Magma which you will see more than once throughout the game (as they are one of the main enemy teams in the playthrough).
Late game Mudkip gets access to Ice Beam (with TM13) to deal with most Flying-type, including the ones at gym number 6. Of course, being a water type it is weak to Grass-type moves, but these can be handled by the rest of your Pokémon team. All of Mudkip’s overwhelming positives and its cuteness makes him our number one pick for our team and in our hearts.
Number 2 Pick: Torchic
While Torchic may have a bit weaker early game, it certainly competes well in the cuteness section. Also it’s important for us to note that Torchic was nearly our number one pick because how strong it becomes later in the playthrough. Speed-ability Blaziken is one of the strongest Pokémon in the game and has even been banned in tournaments because of its overwhelming advantages.
Early in the game Torchic is a good part of any team but comes with a lot of weaknesses. Both the first (rock) gym and the third (electric) gym both have one-hit KO potentials and generally good offense against Torchic. It’s important to remember that Torchic and Combusken don’t have strong defensive stats so your strategy should always take that into account.
The glass cannon method that most Torchic teams carry with them will flourish as long as they can make it to the late game. The incredible offensive power of the Fire/Fighting type Blaziken is overwhelming, which is why Torchic can still be a great pick.
Number 3 Pick: Treecko
Treecko, while not traditionally cute or strong compared to the other starters, still has great things about it. Early game Treecko has some advantages that make it still a strong pick like having a type advantage against the first gym. Treecko comes with excellent speed and great offensive movepool.
Mid game is when the fire-type and flying-type Pokémon come out in full force which can be a real problem for a Treecko team. You’ll have to rely more on your other Pokémon to cover the weaknesses. The big issue with choosing Treecko is that it doesn’t have any early game or late game advantage like the other starters. Luckily there are some issues late game where Treecko has some great uses like Champion Wallace and a few others. Without any solid reasons, Treecko ends up in third place picking.
H2: Pokemon Emerald And Where It Gets Difficult
The starters are a good or bad choice based on the way the game is laid out. If Treecko had more advantages, we might have picked him first instead – it just so happens Mudkip has a lot of early game advantage. We’ll cover some of the other difficulties you might encounter in Emerald and how the starters can all handle them.
H3: The Enemy Teams (Magma and Agua)
Unlike Ruby and Sapphire where there was one team to go against, Emerald showcases both teams being introduced and interacted with throughout the story. Not every grunt or leader will have the same predicted Pokémon but generally they do follow a set of generalities.
Magma uses mostly fire-type and ground Pokémon while Agua uses a lot of water-type Pokémon and dark-type Pokémon. Guess which starter ends up having the most advantage against the two teams generally? That’s right, Mudkip.
Torchic is extra weak to team agua and Treecko is weak to Teak Magma, but Mudkip has strength against Magma and is the same type mostly against Team Agua’s pokemon.
H3: The Elite Four
The elite four is the hardest challenge before completing the game. Our starters won’t have a huge impact at this point in the game but if they can help us more than hurt us we want those advantages where we can get them.
The elite four uses Dark, Ghost, Ice, Dragon, and Water types. Mudkip’s line (Swampert) is still the best pick here. The main reason why is because it has such little issues with the teams while on the flipside even though Torchic and Treecko have a lot of advantages they also have a lot of weaknesses. Given Swampert’s tanky HP levels, he’s going to put up more of a fight in the long run than the other two evolutionary lines.
H2: Our Rankings: Agree or Disagree?
That’s our picks for how we would start out in Pokémon Emerald. Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know your thoughts and what you would do differently if you would.