ByMichael Mitchell, writer at Creators.co
Gamer, writer, occasional pedant. Mitch lives up to all these adjectives and more by writing for Now Loading and Blizzard Watch. @Fizzl_CTR.
Michael Mitchell

UPDATE 11/09/16: Added a section at the end discussing the final evolutions' leaked stat weights.

Eventually, we all face a time when we must admit that we were wrong. For me, that time is now. I've supported Popplio from the beginning — and I still plan to choose the little seal as my starter — but thanks to the recent Pokédex leaks, it's pretty clear Rowlet is the best starter Pokémon.

Let's take a look, shall we?

Rowlet

While I still maintain that Popplio was the cutest starting Pokémon, I'm willing to admit that Rowlet's was a very, very close second. His middle evolution, though, came out looking like either an emo teen or a rich kid on his way to prep school, depending on how you saw it. At this point, it seemed like Rowlet was out of the running.

Then we saw his final form, and all was forgiven. Not only has he dropped the weird hair thing he had going on, he's also poised and ready for a fight. He doesn't look quite as muscular as Litten's final form (which we'll get to below), but he looks agile and dangerous.

And based on the other final forms, well, this one clearly comes out on top.

Popplio

I'll never forget you, Popplio. I stood by your first and second forms, sure that you'd prove everyone wrong and restore people's faith. But your final form just couldn't cut it.

Look, I have nothing against Brionne taking on a more feminine appearance than Popplio. And I do actually feel that the final evolution is a good continuation of the previous forms. Plus, it rounds out the starter Pokémon's different types — agile, slender, bulky.

But it doesn't beat Rowlet, sadly. I'm still standing behind Popplio and really curious to see what her moveset ends up like, but I can't bring myself to say this form is better than Rowlet's. I can, however, say that it could be worse.

Litten

Speaking of worse, sometimes you save the best for last. This is not one of those times.

Ever since players saw various leaks that purported Litten's final form to be a muscular, bipedal Pokémon, they hoped the leaks would be false. Taking the cute kitten and putting it on two legs? There were Twitter hashtags made in protest.

Sadly, they were to no avail. Litten's final form is the bipedal, not-really-a-cat-anymore creature we all feared. Some people are in denial, but it's best to accept it now and just choose another of the starters. Sorry, Litten, this last form is not lit.

But Looks Are Not All That Matter; Stat Leaks Put Rowlet On Top

You may recall that the stats for the final evolutions of the starter Pokémon also leaked recently. And while that article has a more in-depth breakdown of special abilities worth checking out, the stats alone point to Rowlet as the best starter. The final forms of Rowlet, Popplio, and Litten have the following respective stat breakdown:

  • HP: 78 — 80 — 95
  • Attack: 107 — 74 — 115
  • Defense: 75 — 74 — 90
  • Special Attack: 100 — 126 — 80
  • Special Defense: 100 — 116 — 90
  • Speed: 70 — 60 — 60

While no single starter Pokémon has the top stats in all categories, these stats still make a compelling argument for Rowlet as the best starter. Not only does he have the highest speed — an invaluable stat — he's also above or incredibly close to the other two in terms of other stats. Really, the only stats that definitely go to Litten are HP and Defense.

Granted, it all comes down to preference. I still love me that cute little seal, and you may prefer beefier Pokémon over agile ones. But overall, it's hard to deny Rowlet comes out as the best starter.

What do you think of the official final evolutions for Sun and Moon's starter Pokémon?