Surfing through the Meta: The Water Starters

Related Articles

The Starters!

The starter Pokémon are one of the most appetizing aspects of any Pokémon game. The trio of Fire, Grass and Water has captured the hearts and minds of young trainers who have just begun their journey as well as seasoned battlers who tend to have a high level Starter (often the highest level) in their team. 

In Pokémon Go, starters get their due through guaranteed Community Day events and access to powerful charged moves that more often than not, elevate their presence in the meta. Over the course of seven generations of starters in the game now and the stats + movesets of the Gen 9 starters, the Water mons have been some of the most impactful of the trio. 

This article aims to highlight the viability of all the Water starters from Gen 1 to Gen 8 from both a PvP and PvE perspective. Do note that all the Pokémon have been assumed to have Hydro Cannon in their moveset, which is traditionally the Water type Community Day special move. Furthermore, mega evolutions and special forms are ignored to ensure fair competition.

With that being said, let’s begin!

Gen 1: Blastoise

Blastoise Water
Max CP at Level 40 2466 | Max CP at Level 50 2788
ATK 171 DEF 207 HP 188
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass  Fire Ground Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Water Gun Water
  • Bite Dark
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Ice Beam Ice
  • Skull Bash Normal
  • Flash Cannon Steel

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Blastoise, the OG Water starter from Gen 1 has been an icon, even going on to the extent of donning the coolest shades possible in the game (does it?). Going through the stats, it’s easy to see that they are oriented towards its bulk and its ATK is just okayish. So how does Blastoise fare in the meta?

PvP

In PvP, Blastoise has a decent showing in the Great League and is pretty impressive in the Ultra League. Its bulk + access to Hydro Cannon make it a challenge for Pokémon that don’t have an answer to this cannon tortoise. Blastoise still has its limitations, the primary one being the lack of an energy-efficient fast move.

It gets shut down by Pokémon that resist its moves or have charged moves that they can fire off in quick succession. Blastoise really needs a better fast move (in terms of energy) to do better. Until then, it will still be reliable Pokémon in the right match-ups.

PvE

Unfortunately, Blastoise is not good for raids. The low ATK stat makes it really unfavourable for dishing out a good amount of damage.


Gen 2: Feraligatr

Feraligatr Water
Max CP at Level 40 2857 | Max CP at Level 50 3230
ATK 205 DEF 188 HP 198
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass  Fire Ground Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Waterfall Water
  • Water Gun* Water
  • Bite Dark
  • Ice Fang Ice
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Ice Beam Ice
  • Crunch Dark

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Feraligatr has a very interesting moveset and that is complemented with the addition of Hydro Cannon. It does serve as a significant improvement over Blastoise but this gator just isn’t as frightening as it seems.

PvP

Feraligatr has an overall good stance on the PvP side of things. Its access to Crunch and Ice Beam helps it intimidating to a level and forces Psychic and Dragon types to utilise at least one shield, particularly in the lower PvP leagues. But that’s about it. Even though it seems to offer more flavour than Blastoise, the lack of an energy-efficient fats move really hinders Feraligatr.

PvE

With Waterfall + Hydro Cannon, Feraligatr isn’t bad but it’s just severely outclassed. A mon based on a crocodilian should do much better but sadly it doesn’t.


Gen 3: Swampert

Swampert WaterGround
Max CP at Level 40 2974 | Max CP at Level 50 3362
ATK 208 DEF 175 HP 225
Weak to Strong Against
Grass  Fire Electric Ground Rock Poison Steel

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Water Gun Water
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Surf Water
  • Muddy Water Water
  • Earthquake Ground
  • Sludge Wave Poison

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Blastoise and Feraligatr were underwhelming? Here’s your saviour! Swampert is among the most amazing Pokémon in general, not just as a starter. With the ever-amazing Mud Shot in tow, no Water starter reaches Hydro Cannon faster than Swampert does! If that wasn’t enough already, Swampert is among the mud bois, Water/Ground monsters that salvage Mud Shot to torment their opponents and has one of the most impressive profiles of any starter, regardless of the type.

PvP

Swampert is one of the most dangerous mons in PvP, cementing itself as one of the most threatening mons in all three PvP leagues. While its stats make it tailor-made for the GL and UL meta, it manages to be a formidable Pokémon in ML just because of its moveset. With hardly anyGrass type to trouble Swampert, this starter is bound to dent holes in ML cores. A true masterpiece for any PvP league!

PvE

Looking at its ATK stat, you would expect Swampert to be not good in PvE… but think again! While Swampert is certainly no top-notch PvE mon, it is very viable. When facing off against raid bosses weak to both the Water and Ground types: the Fire and Rock types, the combo of Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon can really help you hit a good number of Hydro Cannons to take out good chunks of HP from the raid boss.

pokemon go swampert


Gen 4: Empoleon

Empoleon WaterSteel
Max CP at Level 40 2900 | Max CP at Level 50 3279
ATK 210 DEF 186 HP 197
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Fighting Ground  Fire Fairy Ground Ice Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Waterfall Water
  • Metal Claw Steel
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Blizzard Ice
  • Drill Peck Flying
  • Flash Cannon Steel

*denotes a legacy move

Description

This regal Pokémon sports the unique Water and Steel combination and, as such, boasts multiple resistances and balanced stats.  

PvP

Poor energy gains and a typing that can be exploited by some common types withhold Empoleon from realising its true potential. However, Empoleon definitely fares better than Blastoise and Feraligatr, primarily due to the ever-useful Steel sub-typing. It notably blends very well with Dragon types like Dragonite and Kingdra to form a very good team in the UL meta. Drill Peck lacks STAB but can take Fighting and Grass types (which Empoleon is resistant to). However, it takes neutral damage by Fire types and super-effective damage from Ground types; two types that it is supposed to counter.


Gen 5: Samurott

Samurott Water
Max CP at Level 40 2826 | Max CP at Level 50 3194
ATK 212 DEF 157 HP 216
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass  Fire Ground Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Waterfall Water
  • Fury Cutter Bug
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Razor Shell Water
  • Blizzard Ice
  • Megahorn Bug

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Samurott could ideally have been another Water/Steel type but it sadly isn’t. Hydro Cannon does give Samurott decent viability and it can work in many situations. But it doesn’t cause any noticeable stir in the meta.

PvP

Samurott is serviceable in the GL and UL meta, making full use of not just Hydro Cannon but also its Bug types moves to stand tall against Grass types, and also the Dark and Psychic types typically found in these formats. Compared to most Water Pokémon, Samurott can come across as ‘unique’ or ‘surprising’ because of its moveset, and that definitely works in Sam’s favour.

PvE

Samurott, again, is serviceable in PvE as it actually dishes out some neat DPS. While it is obviously outclassed by some other Water peers, it is still a good entry into your Water type team.


Gen 6: Greninja

Greninja WaterDark
Max CP at Level 40 2654 | Max CP at Level 50 3001
ATK 223 DEF 152 HP 176
Weak to Strong Against
Bug Electric Grass Fighting Fairy  Fire Ground Rock Psychic Ghost

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Bubble Water
  • Feint Attack Dark
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Surf Water
  • Aerial Ace Flying
  • Night Slash Dark

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Greninja was officially the most popular Pokémon in 2020 and naturally, this ninja frog with a tongue scarf gets a lot of hype in any game that it is a part of. With a respectable ATK stat, Greninja will benefit tremendously from its eventual Community Day. Moreover, it can even get access to Water Shuriken similar to how Swampert and Samurott gained Muddy Water and Razor Shell as additional non-legacy moves. Let’s find out if this super popular Pokémon is worth the hype.

PvP

With the bulk of wet tissue paper, Greninja is not going to do much in the PvP scene. However, it’s not a lost cause. Bubble is currently the fastest Water type fast move in the game with a [DPT/EPT] set of [3.50/3.66]. Complemented with Night Slash’s cheap 35 energy requirement and Hydro Cannon’s (upcoming) 40 energy, Greninja can actually work in the right matchups. An ATK boost or two from STAB Night Slash can turn the tide in Greninja’s favor and throw your opponent off the tracks.

PvE

With Hydro Cannon, Greninja looks promising in the PvE scene. Functioning as a good glass cannon, Bubble + Hydro Cannon is definitely worth it and with immaculate dodging, do a lot of help in cutting through the raid boss’ HP before it faints. While we won’t be talking in a stretch about mega evolutions or special forms here, one can’t help but express the fact that Ash Greninja with Hydro Cannon will be a PvE monster glass cannon.


Gen 7: Primarina

Primarina WaterFairy
Max CP at Level 40 3200 | Max CP at Level 50 3618
ATK 232 DEF 195 HP 190
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass Poison  Dark Dragon Fighting Fire Ground Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Waterfall Water
  • Charm Fairy
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Moonblast Fairy
  • Psychic Psychic

*denotes a legacy move

Description

With the formidable Water/Fairy typing, high ATK, and decent defenses, Primarina is scary. It honestly has the most respective stats of all Water starters as not only does it have the second-highest ATK of all the Water starters, but it also has appreciable bulk. The other Water starters either compromise ATK for bulk and even when they have good ATK, it isn’t high enough. Primarina, on the other hand, has the most impressive stat numbers all across the board.

PvP

Primarina is the only Water starter other than Swampert to be an asset in the Master League. A starter that can take down the Dragon types, not take super-effective damage from Steel types despite being a Fairy type, and be able to go up against the might Dialga? Oh yes! Primarina is a ‘charming’ addition to all the PvP leagues and is particularly impressive in the ML meta. Just wait till it gets Hydro Cannon and watch it blow much of its competition out of the water!

PvE

With a good ATK, and the ever-reliable high DPS combo of Waterfall + Hydro Cannon, Prima is certainly a great contender to your Water type raid lineup. Seriously, while Swampert is probably the most viable and flexible Water starter, Primarina is undoubtedly the ‘best’ on an overall basis. This beautiful mermaid mon will never disappoint.


Gen 8: Inteleon

Inteleon Water
Max CP at Level 40 2964 | Max CP at Level 50 3351
ATK 262 DEF 142 HP 172
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass  Fire Ground Rock

 

Fast Moves Charge Moves
  • Water Gun Water
  • Pound Normal
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Surf Water
  • Water Pulse Water
  • Shadow Ball Ghost

*denotes a legacy move

Description

Inteleon is the sleek, James Bond-esque Water starter from the Galar region. I mentioned Greninja having the bulk of a wet tissue paper. Well, Inteloen then has the bulk of a torn wet tissue paper. But if you think Inteleon is in a sorry state, think again! Just like a spy (that Intelon is based on), it pulls off an incredible trick from its sleeve… a weapon that we cannot comprehend until we actually experience it ourselves: its 262 ATK stat. It is the highest ATK stat of any Water starter, that too it’s miles ahead of its peers.

PvP

With the most underwhelming bulk of all Water starters, Inteleon is practically useless in PvP. Even with Hydro Cannon and the highest ATK of all Water starters, its bulk won’t let it progress in a PvP battle. Sad.

PvE

To put it into perspective, Inteleon’s ATK stat lies exactly between Dragonite and Garchomp. Imagine, just imagine a Hydro Cannon off a 262 ATK stat?! Holy smoke!

Not accounting for mega evolutions (Mega Swampert) or special forms (Ash Greninja & Primal Kyogre), Inteleon will sport the highest DPS of all Water Pokémon, even surpassing Kyogre with Origin Pulse! Of course, you’ll need to be competent enough in dodging to truly experience Inteleon’s power. And trust me, it’s going to be worth it!


Conclusion

Swampert, Greninja, Primarina, and Inteloen are the greatest highlights of the Water starters in the meta. With the release of Gen 9 not too far away, we wonder what Quaxly’s final evolution will bring to the table!

Regardless, the Water starters are undoubtedly some of the most interesting sets of mons. The best part is that all the Water starters have something to deliver, be it PvP, PvE, or both!

If you are fond of these Pokémon, you can rest assured that they are worth being raised to high levels and becoming your Best Buddies. 

All the best with your Water starters, trainers!

Related reading

Popular today

Latest articles