Here are a few major factors to consider before you pick your Pokémon Sun and Moon starter.
Pokémon Sun and Moon starters guide: Final evolutions
When you pick your Pokémon Sun and Moon starter, you're not just choosing a cute little companion; you're picking an ally that will grow and evolve throughout the game. By the time you reach the end of your adventure, you'll have a powerful Pokémon at your side.
So which one do you want?
If you pick Litten as your Pokémon Sun and Moon starter, you'll finish the game with Incineroar. It's a powerful fire/dark-type Pokémon with a belt made from fire and a special move called Darkest Lariat that allows it to power through enemy abilities and attacks.
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As its fighting spirit increases, the flames that Incineroar produces within its body burst from its navel and waistline. Since the flames somewhat resemble a championship belt, they're known as its "flame belt," and the Pokémon unleashes moves that use flames from it. In the heat of battle, Incineroar shows no concern for its opponents — and sometimes even launches attacks that strike the opposing Trainer! As a result, many tend to dislike this Pokémon and keep it at a distance.
Next up is Rowlet, an adorable owl that eventually transforms into Decidueye. This grass/ghost-type Pokémon has a unique attack called Spirit Shackle, which stops your opponent from fleeing the battle or switching in another Pokémon.
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This Pokémon is able to move about while completely masking its presence from others. Once an opponent has lost sight of it, Decidueye seizes the chance to attack it unaware. In a tenth of a second, Decidueye plucks an arrow quill from within its wing and sends it hurtling toward its target. Its speed is astonishing, but not more so than its precise aim, which enables the arrow quill to pierce a target through and through from half a mile or more away! Decidueye usually acts very cool, but it can become terribly flustered in unexpected situations like a surprise attack.
Finally, there's Popplio, a goofy water-type starter from Pokémon Sun and Moon that evolves into majestic water/fairy-type Primarina. Its unique move, Sparkling Aria, can heal the burns of other Pokémon.
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As it dances, Primarina releases balloons of water into the area around itself, moving them using the sound waves from its voice. The sight of moonlight reflecting off its glittering balloons creates a magical scene. Since Primarina controls its balloons using its voice, any injury to its throat can become a grave problem. Its greatest enemies are arid environments and the overuse of its voice during back-to-back battles.
Pokémon Sun and Moon starters guide: Stats
Still can't decide which Pokémon Sun and Moon starter to pick? A closer look at each Pokémon's stats may help clear things up.
Litten starts off with an impressive speed stat of 70 and attack of 65, making it a solid choice early on in the game.
By comparison, Rowlet is a little less impressive, with an initial speed of 42.
Popplio falls somewhere in between, with solid special attack and special defense but otherwise weak stats.
As your Pokémon Sun and Moon starter evolves, those stats will change. For example, Rowlet gets a huge speed boost to 70 once it becomes Decidueye, and its attack stat also jumps to 107. Meanwhile, Litten's speed actually drops down to 60 after it transforms into the bulkier Incineroar, but its attack stat maxes out at an impressive 115. Popplio's stats increase steadily as it evolves into Primarina without any big surprises, resulting in a powerful Pokémon at the end of the game.
Pokémon Sun and Moon starters guide: Best pick for beating the trials
If you're worried about the trial battles, which replace gyms in Pokémon Sun and Moon, then Rowlet may be your best bet. Being a grass type gives it an advantage against the first few trials, and by the time you get to the final fire-type trial battle, you should have a strong enough lineup to succeed.
Popplio is also a strong choice. You'll have a tough time with the first trial battle, but the second and third trials should be a breeze.
Finally, fan-favorite Litten may actually be the worst choice when it comes to these trial showdowns. Picking a fire type will make the first few trials a slog, but don't let that stop you if you're determined to try this adorable cat-like Pokémon.