Pokémon Black & White came right off the tail of the wildly popular Diamond & Pearl, and as such, fans had incredibly high expectations. Black & White had one of the best stories a Pokémon game had to offer and is often regarded as one of the best. While Black & White didn't introduce too many new Pokémon, it made up for it in other areas. It is also the first Pokémon game to get a direct sequel.
Like with every new Pokémon game, Black & White gave us three new starters to choose from in Tepig, Snivy, and Oshawott. Choosing a starter Pokémon is the most important part of any trainer's journey, so it's important to know which one is the best among the three choices.
10 Tepig: Best Early On
Tepig is the Fire Starter of the Fifth Generation of Pokémon, and as luck would have it Fire is very effective against the early Gym Leaders. By the time you get to the second Gym Leader in Black & White (who uses Normal Types), Tepig will likely be evolved into Pignite, meaning it will know a Fighting Type move in "Arm Thrust." Its usefulness will carry into the third gym against the Bug Types thanks to their Fire weakness. Due to its double typing, Tepig can blow through early Gym Leaders all on its own.
9 Snivy: Best Defensive Utility
Snivy the Grass Starter has the best Defense stats compared to its Starter competition, with the downside of having less overall HP. Despite this, Snivy can hold its own the best thanks to just how good its Defense stats are.
Thanks to that, by the time Snivy evolves into Serperior it can be used as a great supportive Pokémon since it can learn both "Reflect" and "Light Screen" to weaken the damage other Pokémon can do to your team. Mix this with its already good defenses this makes Snivy the hardest to get rid of.
8 Oshawott: Best Final Stat Spread
Emboar (Tepig's final evolution) is clearly the offensive beast of the Black & White starter trio while Serperior (Snivy's final evolution) is the face of the defense. The Water Starter Oshawott's final form Samurott on the other hand is the middle ground. Samurott's stats don't have a clear "best" one, but all of its stats are solid. Even its weakest stats (Speed and Special Defense) outclasses Emboar's, and can even be boosted if desired with the help of IV and EV training. There's no glaring downside to Samurott, making it the most balanced overall.
7 Tepig: Two STAB Moves
Tepig after evolving into Pignite gets a dual typing as a Fire and Fighting Type, continuing the "Fire-Fighting" starter trend that started in Generation Three of Pokémon. Thanks to this, Tepig gets two STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) moves since it learns both Fire and Fighting moves. This adds an extra layer of Type coverage that Tepig gets that the other starters don't ever get. While this does mean Tepig winds up with more Weakness, it also means he gets more Resistances while being able to have Super Effective STAB moves on opposing Pokémon.
6 Snivy: The Fastest
Snivy has the fastest Speed stat compared to Tepig and Oshawott and can be seen before any of them evolve even when most of their stats are nearly identical. The gap is even greater by the time they reach their final evolutions, so much so that Serperior's Speed is almost double that of Emboar's.
Thanks to this, it's easy to get Snivy to incredibly high Speed when combined with EVs and IVs allowing it to attack before any other opposing Pokémon. This allows it to get the jump on opposing trainers and while its attacking stats are subpar can still be enough to two-shot other Pokémon.
5 Oshawott: Least Weaknesses
Oshawott is a pure Water Type, and unlike Tepig never gets a secondary typing from any of its evolutions. While Snivy shares this same feature, Grass Types are weak to five different Types whereas Water only has two Types that are Super Effective against it. This isn't even a trade-off since both Water and Grass are Resistant to four different Types. By the time Tepig is Emboar, it is Resistant to six Types, however, it is still weak to four Types. Not just that, but Water's only Weaknesses are to Grass and Electric Types both of which are fairly under-represented overall. This makes Oshawott one of the safer picks due to its low amount of Weaknesses.
4 Tepig: Most Competitively Viable
In the competitive scene of Black & White, there are tiers in which Pokémon lie. Both Serperior and Samurott belong to a tier below Emboar, making it the best in the competitive scene of Pokémon. In the competitive scene, power is king, and thanks to Emboar's devastatingly high Attack stat mixed with a great HP stat make it a solid pick for teams. With Fire-Type moves having some of the highest damage outputs in the game, it's not uncommon for Emboar to knock out opposing Pokémon in just one hit.
3 Snivy: Best In Later Generations
Snivy has an incredibly powerful Hidden Ability in "Contrary" which will raise its stats when they're meant to lower and vice versa. This allows it to use moves such as "Leaf Storm" that has a devastating 130 base damage and gaining two stages of Special Attack in the process (normally it would lower without "Contrary").
The downside is that the ability is unobtainable in Black & White, and wouldn't come until Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. As such, while it has fair competition in its debut Generation, it leads the pack in future installments once its Hidden Ability was added.
2 Oshawott: Most Versatile
By the time Oshawott becomes Samurott, its stat line is balanced with no clear stat being better than the rest. This plays into just how versatile Samurott can be. It can be played as either an offensive or defensive Pokémon thanks to its rather large move pool. It can learn a wide variety of moves, making Samurott a Pokémon that has great Type coverage which is especially helpful considering its low amount of Weaknesses. Mixed with Swords Dance, Samurott can become quite the threat with priority moves in "Aqua Jet" while damaging with "Hydro Pump." Samurott can also learn moves like "Taunt" and "Knock Off" to act as a supportive Pokémon as well.
1 Winner: Tepig
In another world Snivy would be the winner if "Contrary" was easily obtainable. However, due to the fact it was both missing from Black & White and was an event exclusive ability, Tepig wins out as the best Black & White starter. While Oshawott has its merits, its balanced stat line can sometimes play against it and prevent it from doing real damage before it gets taken care of. Snivy has solid Speed but doesn't have many moves that can truly utilize it considering its subpar Attack stats. Tepig is so good when it becomes Emboar. While it's low Speed stat can be a downside, its raw power more than makes up for it. Its also incredibly bulky with its HP, which lets it take advantage of its explosiveness. Thanks to its dual Fire-Fighting Typing, it has access to some of the most damaging moves in the game while being able to utilize its STAB bonuses. All of this gives Tepig the title of best starter from Black & White.
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