What Could the Starters Be for Pokémon Legends: Z-A?

Hello Trainers!

As many of you are probably aware, we recently received the exciting news that the next instalment in the main series of Pokémon games will be Pokémon Legends: Z-A! This title will be the second instalment in the Legends series game, and our first return to Kalos since its debut game of X and Y! For those of y’all who know me, Gen 6 is my favorite, so I will not be shutting up about this any time soon (I apologize in advance).

There are a lot of questions and speculation circling around right now, but for this article, we’ll be focusing on the question: what will the starter Pokémon trio be for these new games?

History of Pokémon Legends Starters

For those of you that did not play Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the first instalment in the Legends series, then this question may seem a bit confusing. For the first 20+ years of the Pokémon franchise, the trios of starter Pokémon remained consistent even across games. For example, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle are always depicted together, rather than mixing them around with starters from other regions.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus (which I’ll refer to as PLA from now on) mixed up this formula. PLA takes place in an ancient Sinnoh region. However, in addition to revealing a trio of starters that were not native to Sinnoh, the starters that were revealed hailed from three entirely different regions! These were Rowlet from Alola, Cyndaquil from Johto, and Oshawott from Unova!

Another thing to note is that two out of the three starters are from generations after Gen 4. This means that starters for Legends games can be from any region!

Who do we Have to Choose From?

While these are some of the most well-known Pokémon from each generation, it might be a good idea to get a refresher before we dive in. Let’s review all of our options:










I can’t believe how close we are to 30 different starter Pokémon! While it may seem like we have endless options, we actually have a few less Pokémon to choose from than you may think. Out of the 27 listed here, I believe that 9 of them are off the table.

First off are the three starters that appeared in PLA. They have received their special treatment in the form of a regional Hisuian form. In the lore of the game, it is said these Pokémon came from faraway regions, referring to their home regions. While it is still possible that we could see them make a return, I believe it is highly unlikely.

The next two trios that I believe are not options are the Kanto and Hoenn starters. This is due to the return of Mega Evolution, as teased in the trailer!

So what does this have to do with the starters? As you probably know, the Kanto and Hoenn starters have Mega Evolutions, which have all already made their debuts in Pokémon GO!

Game Freak knows how popular Mega Evolutions are, hence why it is the first, and so far only Battle Gimmick to return. I doubt they would be bold enough to leave the older Mega Evolutions out, especially ones that are as popular as the starters. As such, I would expect these two trios to be available in the wild, and since their Megas aren’t new, they likely wouldn’t be featured in the starter trio.

This leaves our list down to these choices:

You may be wondering why the Kalos starters are on here. After all, none of the Sinnoh starters were part of the trio in Hisui, appearing in the wild instead. In my opinion, these three are very much still on the table, for reasons I’ll touch upon later!

What “Special Treatment” Could the Starters Get?

This may be a bit of a confusing question. To find the answer, let’s look at PLA again. The starters, Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott, received new Regional Evolutions for their final forms. Regional Evolutions are one of a few different ways Game Freak can add some new flair to existing Pokémon. We have seen these the most with the Kanto starters, specifically Charizard. They each received a Mega Evolution in Gen 6 and a G-Max form in Gen 8.

I think that there are two options for special treatment for the Legends: Z-A starters. There are reasons for each, but either would definitely be an exciting addition!

The first option is a new Regional Evolution for the final forms. PLA set a precedent for this, and I don’t think anyone would complain about some cool new starter final forms. However, I think there is an option that is much more likely.

Mega Evolution is a mechanic that many fans have been begging for since its departure after Sun and Moon. Thematically it is definitely the most interesting battle gimmick, giving amazing new forms to existing Pokémon. Mega Evolution originated from Kalos and was hinted at in the trailer, and I would bet that the newest starter trio will receive Mega Evolutions. Of course, only time will tell!

A Note About the Kalos Starters

This idea of “special treatment” finally leads me to the Kalos starters. I think it is criminal that Chesnaught, Delphox, and Greninja didn’t receive Mega Evolutions in X and Y. It would have made the most sense, as Mega Evolution is supposed to represent a strong bond between a Trainer and their partner Pokémon.

I personally hope that these three receive Mega Evolutions in Legends: Z-A. Maybe this is more of a dream, but I do believe it was a huge missed opportunity. I think getting new Regional Evolutions is out of the question, as the Sinnoh starters didn’t in Hisui.

However, there is one issue: Ash-Greninja. While it wasn’t a Mega Evolution, it was a special form that was just as powerful as a Mega. This would likely throw a wrench into giving these Pokémon newer forms. I would still love to be pleasantly surprised though.

These three starters will definitely appear in some capacity, whether it be as your starter or in the wild. If they are presented to us as the starters, then it would be safe to assume they will receive some form of “special treatment”. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but for the rest of this speculation I will be excluding them as potential options.

Which Starters Could Be Part of the Legends: Z-A Trio?

Here’s where we’ll get into the potential options. Of course, we’re going to need a Fire, Water, and Grass type respectively. Looking at the list above, we have plenty of promising options!

The first thing to note is that there are three full sets of starter trios that are potential options, outside of the Kalos starters. These are the Sinnoh, Galar, and Paldea trios. Sinnoh makes sense, as they were featured in the wild in Hisui, and at the time of PLA’s release the Galar starters were the most recently released trio.

However, this point brings me to the Paldea starters. These three Pokémon were only recently introduced, so I doubt they’ll get any special treatment from Game Freak this soon. Of course, I could be wrong, but for the purposes of this speculation I’m going to leave them out.

This leaves us with Chikorita and Totodile from Johto, Snivy and Tepig from Unova, Litten and Popplio from Alola, and the full Sinnoh and Galar trios. I’ll be picking from these choices for my prediction.

I think that we are very likely to get one of the starters from Galar. Like I mentioned before, I totally get why they weren’t in the running last time, but this time I think they’re fair game. They’re now the second most recent trio, which is what Rowlet was at the time of PLA’s release. Additionally, these three starters are a bit… boring. Sorry if I offended anyone, but that’s my opinion. Mono typed starters at their final evolution is something I thought that Game Freak was done with. If it were just one, it would be passable, but it’s all three. They each have signature moves, but they’re pretty underwhelming. They even received G-Max forms, yet they somehow managed to be disappointing as well. These starters are definitely worthy of some special treatment.

There are arguments for and against the Sinnoh starters getting special treatment, but in actuality they have never actually received any special treatment through Regional Variants, battle gimmicks, or anything else. They have simply been featured in many recent games due to Game Freak’s multitude of Sinnoh titles. Since their trio is also untouched, I think they are also great candidates for one of the trio members.

With all that background information out of the way, let’s take a look at the options for each type, starting with Grass!

The Grass Starter

Let’s take a look at our options. We can choose between Chikorita, Turtwig, Snivy, and Grookey.

For starters, I think Snivy is out. While this isn’t a disqualifying factor, one of the PLA starters was from Unova, so there would need to be a strong case to pick another from that trio. Serperior is probably the most powerful out of the three original Unovan starters, thanks to its ability Contrary. Paired with Leaf Storm, this allowed Serperior to increase its stats to staggering heights. It got a further, albeit indirect, buff with the new Stellar Tera Type. I think Serperior is doing fine.

Next up, a bit surprisingly, is Grookey. Like I mentioned before, I find all of the Galarian starters a bit underwhelming, making them strong candidates for some special attention. The exception to this, however, is Rillaboom. It is one of the strongest starters ever created (Incineroar still holds the crown though). Its combination of stats, moves, and its Hidden Ability Grassy Surge make this thing a beast. Rillaboom is still very meta-relevant even today, so I don’t believe it needs any additional attention.

That leaves us with Chikorita and Turtwig. There are arguments for both. Chikorita is in much need of some love from Game Freak. It is definitely the least popular out of the Johto starters, but I do know that those who love it do so with a passion. Meganium has always been underwhelming, so it could definitely benefit from some special treatment.

Turtwig, on the other hand, has its own pros and cons. Its final form, Torterra, has had its ups and downs. It most recently got a buff in Scarlet and Violet, receiving the powerful boosting move Shell Smash. While this has helped it see some usage, it is still overall underwhelming, which hurts to say because it is my favorite of the Sinnoh starters. I think Torterra has amazing potential for a Regional Evolution or some other alternate form, so being one of the starters for Legends: Z-A could be a perfect opportunity to do so!

So in summary, I believe Chikorita or Turtwig would be the best choices for the Grass starter!

The Fire Starter

Now things are heating up! (I’m so sorry)

Our choices here are Chimchar, Tepig, Litten, and Scorbunny.


That thing needs no more buffs. Ever. Please.

Next up is Tepig. I think Emboar is one of the most hated final starter forms, partially because it is the 3rd Fire/Fighting type in a row, but also because it is ugly. Like I said for Snivy, they would need a strong case to pull another Legends starter from Unova, and while I would love to replace Emboar with a new Regional Evolution, I do not see them picking Tepig.

That leaves us with Chimchar and Scorbunny. We’ll look at Chimchar first. As mentioned in Turtwig’s section, Infernape’s most recent appearance was in Scarlet and Violet. However, unlike its two friends, Infernape received no meaningful buffs. It got a few new moves, with Temper Flare and Aura Sphere being the most interesting, but nothing great. Infernape is a fan favorite, and receiving some attention from Game Freak could be a huge hit!

Finally is Scorbunny. This was my starter of choice for Sword and Shield. Even despite this, I’m not a huge fan of Cinderace. It’s far from a bad Pokémon, but there is nothing particularly exciting about it. I think it could greatly benefit from some special treatment.

In conclusion, I think both Chimchar and Scorbunny are great options for the Fire type starter!

The Water Starter

And now we’ve arrived at our final member of the trio! Our options here are Totodile, Piplup, Popplio, and Sobble.

The one member of this list that I don’t see them adding is Piplup. While it is definitely a fan favorite, it isn’t as desperate for special treatment like some others are. Most recently, Empoleon received the most meaningful buff out of all the Sinnoh starters. Its Hidden Ability was changed from Defiant to Competitive, allowing Empoleon to reach its full potential and become competitively viable. Maybe if we ever find ourselves in Pokémon’s equivalent of Greece we could see a Regional Variant of Empoleon to represent Poseidon, but for now I think that we can leave Piplup alone.

At first glance, Totodile seems like a decent choice. It’s mono typed, from an older generation, and hasn’t really received any love since then. However, one of my criteria for the list is that if Legends: Z-A is going to pull a starter from the same region as PLA did, there needs to be a good reason for it. Totodile’s need for special treatment pales in comparison to Chikorita. Feraligatr is actually pretty strong, with its Hidden Ability called Sheer Force allowing it to use a Life Orb Item with none of its usual drawbacks. While I do love Totodile, I again see no need to give it any attention right now.

That leaves us with Popplio and Sobble. I think Sobble is a great fit for some attention, similarly to Cinderace. While I do like the James Bond inspiration with the finger water guns, nothing about Inteleon was ever super exciting. I would love to see what they can offer it through a Regional Evolution or Mega Evolution.

Finally is Popplio. This may seem like a bizarre choice. Primarina is one of the strongest starters with access to the ever-powerful Fairy typing. It is easily the best starter for a playthrough of Alola. It even sees some play in VGC now with its Liquid Voice Ability powering up some of its strongest moves. So why is it in the running?

Its placement on this list has more to do with the other two members of its trio. Decidueye received a new form in PLA, checking that box. And I don’t think anyone can understate the amount of attention Incineroar has gotten. Intimidate, Fake Out, and Parting Shot are just a few of the many buffs Incineroar has received to become one of the strongest Pokémon of all time.

Compared to these two, Primarina isn’t all that exciting. I think receiving some special treatment could help it shine next to its two counterparts!

So our choices for the Water starter are either Popplio or Sobble!

Pokemon Sword and Shield Sobble
Pokemon Sword and Shield Sobble

My Prediction

And now we’ve come to the final prediction! While there are no strict rules to what I am or am not including in the trio, I firmly believe that we will receive a starter from both the Sinnoh and Galar regions. They were not selected for PLA starters and have strong reasons for needing some attention from Game Freak. For the final starter, I believe it will be pulled from one of the regions that PLA chose from and not Paldea. However, in order to be selected, there must be a strong case, as one of the trio was already featured in PLA.

Out of the options I chose from, we can actually make two different trios. They are as follows:

Option 1

Option 2

Both of these options are trios I could realistically see for the newest Legends instalment. I would personally be excited to see any of these options! What the predictions boil down to is this: option 2 is comprised of Pokémon that are in desperate need of some attention, and while option 1 isn’t outlandish, it is a bit personally biased, but it could make for an exciting trio!

My final prediction is this: the starters will be Chikorita, Chimchar, and Sobble, who will receive Regional Evolutions, and the Kalos starters will receive Mega Evolutions!


And there we have it! If you made it this far, I appreciate you. I rambled on as usual, but I’m giving myself a pass because I’m a massive Gen 6 fan. Of course, this is all my own opinion. Only time will tell if my guesses were correct. I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions for the starters. Let’s start a conversation in the GO Hub Discord!

Author & tags

Hey! I'm KikitheTiki, an avid Pokémon fan and a staunch supporter of everything X and Y. I dabble in shiny hunting, VGC, and of course plenty of Pokémon GO! Proud level 50 Valor💪

Further reading

Popular today

Latest articles

Support us

Buy GO Hub merch

Get your very own GO Hub t-shirt, mug, or tote.