Pokémon Scarlet and Violet feature a vibrant and exciting new world with different characters, objectives, and most importantly, Pokémon. You decide the course of your adventure, and the possibilities are endless in the beautiful and vast Paldea region. 

These games bring back old and powerful Pokémon from previous games, and introduce many new and foreign Generation 9 Pokémon. If you’re just starting either Pokémon Scarlet or Violet, you may not know which new Pokémon are worth adding to your dream team. 

In this article, we’ll be highlighting the top ten best early game Pokémon to use in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. We’ll include each of their typings, strengths, and weaknesses so that you can decide which Pokémon are best suited for your team.

Let’s get started!

Top 10 Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet, Ranked Good to Great

There are a total of 107 new Generation 9 Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, but only a few have what it takes to earn a permanent slot on your team. 

This list will also include Pokémon from older generations that have managed to remain reliable and strong picks throughout several new game releases. All of the below Pokémon are great picks for the early game, and can easily carry you into the late and end game.

10/10

Bellibolt

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Bellibolt
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Electric 
  • Strong Against: Water, Flying 
  • Weak Against: Ground
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 2

This “Elefrog Pokémon” has very few weaknesses, and can definitely absorb some strong hits. Although it doesn’t have the best speed, it makes up for it with its excellent special attack, defense, and high HP. 

Its derpy appearance makes it look harmless, but it can easily wipe an unsuspecting enemy team. It can learn some very strong Water, Electric, and Normal moves, and also some very useful Psychic status moves.   

You can search for Bellibolt, but it’s quite rare, so you may just want to grab a Tadbulb and evolve it with a Thunder Stone. Tadbulb can be found in many spots, including Asado Desert, Tagtree Thicket, Casseroya Lake, East Province, and South Province. 

Thunder Stones can be found in the loot that is scattered across all of Paldea. They can also be found at Delibird Presents in Mesagoza, Levinicia, or Cascarrafa after you have completed three gym leaders. If you are looking for a tanky and strong Electric type to join the team, then look no further.  

9/10

Salamence

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Salamence
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Dragon/Flying 
  • Strong Against: Dragon, Grass, Fighting, Bug 
  • Weak Against: Ice, Rock, Dragon, Fairy, Electric  
  • Generation: 3
  • Evolutions: 3

Unfortunately, Salamence is only in Pokémon: Violet, but you can get it in a trade. If you are playing Pokémon: Violet, Salamence should definitely be on your team roster. It boasts fantastic stats overall, and its first evolution isn’t too hard to find. Its high attack, special attack, and speed make it an extremely valuable early game Pokémon. 

Although it may take some grinding to get Bagon to evolve all the way into Salamence, it’s definitely worth the effort. Shelgon, its second evolution, is also a fairly tanky and strong Pokémon. It is a great asset to have during the first few gyms for its powerful dragon, dark, and normal moves. 

Its Intimidate ability and hidden Moxie ability are incredibly useful, and set your team up for success right away. It is weak to quite a few types, but its high attack and speed statistics help make up for this. More often than not, you will get your strong moves off first and one-shot lower level opponents. 

If you want to add Salamence to your team, look for Bagon in the North Province, East Province, South Province, West Province, and Glaseado Mountain.  

8/10

Pawmot

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Pawmot
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Electric/Fighting 
  • Strong Against: Water, Normal. Flying 
  • Weak Against: Psychic, Ground, Fairy 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 3

Although this Pokémon may look fluffy and adorable, it can pack a huge punch. It boasts excellent attack, and does not have very many weaknesses. Its high speed stat allows it to get its moves off first most of the time, which can be extremely useful in the early game. 

It can learn some very hard-hitting fighting and punching moves such as Fire Punch, Ice Punch, and Thunder Punch. Iron Fist, which is its hidden ability, increases the power of punching moves by 20%. 

Its unique dual typing gives your team some much needed coverage, and it has some strong abilities. It’s very easy to evolve, and you can find Pawmi, its first evolution form, pretty much anywhere. 

It’s definitely more of a physical attacker, and it suffers from low defense and special defense, but these stats can easily be buffed with the loot you get from raid dens. 

To evolve Pawmo into Pawmot, you will need to walk 1,000 steps in “Let’s Go” mode, which may take a bit of time. Once you have it, though, you’ll be surprised by how powerful it actually is. 

7/10

Meowscarada

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Meowscarada
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Grass, Dark 
  • Strong Against: Water, Ground, Rock 
  • Weak Against: Bug, Fire, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Flying, Fairy 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 3

This new grass cat Pokémon is a fantastic starting Pokémon to have. Its high damage and speed can knock out opposing Pokémon quickly, and help you steamroll the early game competition. Despite its many type weaknesses, its dual typing makes it immune to Psychic moves, and gives you some useful type coverage.  

It’s a strong physical and special attacker, which makes it more of a reliable Pokémon. Although it’s a bit of a glass cannon, its incredible speed helps make up for that. Its ability Overgrow, which increases the power of Grass-type moves by 50% when its HP falls below a third of its maximum, gives you that crucial edge that you need to win a close fight, or finish off a dangerous enemy Pokémon.

It can learn some very powerful Grass and Fighting moves, and some extremely useful status moves such as Spikes and Toxic Spikes. It adds some much needed balance to any team, and almost always hits first.  

6/10

Gyrados

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Gyrados
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Water, Flying 
  • Strong Against: Fire, Ground, Rock, Grass, Fighting, Bug   
  • Weak Against: Electric, Rock, Grass, Ice
  • Generation: 1
  • Evolutions: 2

This classic Generation one Pokémon does not disappoint in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. He is very easy to get, and has disgustingly high-attack. You can quickly pick up a Magikarp from pretty much anywhere at the beginning of the game and evolve it into a Gryados at Level 20.  

It also has great special defense, high HP, and decent defense. Its Intimidate ability gives it an early advantage, and its hidden Moxie ability makes it stronger throughout the battle. 

Even though it has a few major weaknesses, it can take a couple hard hits before it gets knocked out. It gets its moves off first in battles often, and it can learn some extremely powerful Dark, Normal, Fire, Dragon, and even Electric moves. It’s a very versatile and viable Pokémon that consistently gets the job done.  

5/10

Gengar

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Gengar
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Ghost, Poison
  • Strong Against: Psychic, Ghost, Grass, Fairy 
  • Weak Against: Ghost, Dark, Ground, Psychic 
  • Generation: 1
  • Evolutions: 3

This popular Shadow Pokémon brings some satisfying nostalgia and much needed type coverage onto your team. It’s lightning fast, and boasts insane special attack. It acts as a perfect secret weapon against that pesky Fairy or Psychic type that you can’t get rid of. Its major downside is its lack of defense and special defense. 

If you want to round Gengar’s stats out a bit more, you’ll need to farm for loot in raid dens. The feathers that you earn in raid dens can be used to make it less of a glass cannon and more of a tank. Despite its low defense and weaknesses, though, its speed allows it to get its moves off first most of the time. Status moves like Hypnosis and Confuse Ray can also really help Gengar gain its terrifying stride in battle. 

In Pokémon: Sword and Shield, you could really only get Gengar through a trade. If you were lucky enough to get someone’s Haunter in a trade, then the Haunter would turn into a Gengar after the trade was completed. In Pokémon: Scarlet and Violet, you can get a Gengar right away. 

All you need to do is catch a Pincurchin on the East Paldean Sea beach, and trade it with an NPC named Blossom in Levincia City. When looking for her, look for her yellow chat bubble that reads, “A Pincurchin would be great.” She will give you a Haunter for the Pincurchin, and the Haunter will immediately evolve into Gengar after the trade. 

4/10

Toedscruel

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Toedscruel
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Ground/Grass
  • Strong Against: Fire, Electric, Poison, Rock, Steel, Water, Ground 
  • Weak Against: Water, Grass, Ice, Fire, Poison, Flying, Bug 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 2

This Grass version of Tentacruel from Generation 1 mixes the new with the old in a way that just works. Like Tentacruel, it has incredible special defense and speed, and very useful type coverage. It’s weak to many types, but also strong against many types. It moves first in battles quite often, and learns some invaluable status moves that can quickly turn a difficult matchup into an easy wipe-out. 

Spore, Poison Powder, and Stun Spore are extremely helpful status moves that can set your team up for success. Spore is especially useful because it puts the target to sleep, and never misses. Grass moves like Power Whip and Seed Bomb are devastating against any Water type, while Ground moves like Earth Power and Mud Shot are essential to have when you find yourself against a formidable Electric, Rock, or Steel type.  

Toedscruel’s first evolution, Toedscool, is very easy to find as well. It evolves into Toedscruel at Level 30, which doesn’t take long at all to reach. If you want to add this strong Pokémon to your team, look for its first evolution in Tagtree Thicket, Asado Desert, Casseroya Lake, the North Province, the East Province, South Province, and West Province. 

3/10

Annihilape

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Annihilape
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Fighting/Ghost 
  • Strong Against: Normal, Ice, Rock, Dark, Steel, Psychic, Ghost 
  • Weak Against: Flying, Psychic, Fairy, Ghost, Dark 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 3

Annihilape turns a very underwhelming and weak Generation 1 Pokémon into an absolute beast. This Pokémon has amazing base stats, and really only suffers from low defense and special attack. It has very high attack, and solid special defense. It gets its sucker-punch moves off first more often than not in battle, and its unique dual typing makes it a valuable asset. 

Even though it boasts good special defense, its defense isn’t the best. It can deliver a mean punch, but it can’t take much of a hit in return. You can boost its special defense and defense stats with the feathers you find in raid dens to make it more of a durable slugger in battle. In addition to some devastating Fighting and Ghost moves, it can learn some great Dark, Ground, Flying, Rock, and Electric moves. 

Mankey and Primeape are not too difficult to find, however it will take a bit of work to evolve Primeape into Annihilape. Once you get a Primeape, you will need to use the move Rage Fist 20 times for it to turn into an Annihilape. You can find Mankey in South Province (Area Five) and West Province (Area One), or Primeape in North Province (Area One) and North Province (Area Two). 

2/10

Garganacl

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Garganacl
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Rock 
  • Strong Against: Fire, Ice, Flying, Bug
  • Weak Against: Water, Grass, Fighting, Ground, Steel 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 3

This new “Rock Salt” Pokémon is incredibly strong and tanky. It absorbs physical attacks and delivers devastating blows back in return. If you face this Pokémon in the wild or in a battle with a trainer, it will likely knock out most of your team if you don’t have a solid counter to play against it. 

What makes this Pokémon so deadly is it’s Terastallization, which can change it into a either a Ghost or Steel type. If it turns into a Ghost type, it becomes immune to Normal and Fighting type moves. Its Purifying Salt ability also makes it much stronger against Ghost-type moves. If you don’t have a Dark type to slash it down, your team may end up getting wiped out. 

Although Rock types suffer from having many weaknesses, Garganacl comes in very clutch when you are getting beaten down in a fight and don’t have many options left. It may not have the best special attack or speed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set up the perfect combination with it. If the trainer you’re fighting doesn’t know what moves to use to bring its setup to a halt, then there is really no stopping it. 

Gargnacl learns some valuable Normal, Ground, Ice, and Steel moves in addition to Rock moves. You can find Garganacl in The Great Crater of Paldea. You can also find its first and second evolutions in the Asado Desert, Casseroya Lake, the North Province, the East Province, the South Province, and the West Province. 

1/10

Skeledirge

Best Early Game Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet | Skeledirge
Image: Nintendo, Game Freak via HGG / Summer Watts
  • Type: Fire/Ghost  
  • Strong Against: Grass, Ice, Bug, Steel, Psychic, Ghost
  • Weak Against: Water, Rock, Ghost, Dark, Ground 
  • Generation: 9
  • Evolutions: 3

Skeledirge is by far the best starter Pokémon, and early game carry Pokémon. It can take a few heavy hits and wipe out an enemy team all by itself with ease. Its high HP, defense, and special attack make it the lethal powerhouse that you absolutely need on your team. 

Its Fire and Ghost dual typing is extremely strong, and comes in mighty handy if you haven’t managed to secure a decent Ghost type on your team yet. Ghost typing also makes it immune to Normal and Fighting moves. 

Although it may not have the best attack, special defense, or speed, these statistics can easily be improved with the feathers you earn from beating the raid dens strewn across Paldea. Skeledirge is especially useful when its speed is increased. If you can get it to always go first in battle, then farming for experience and loot in raid dens will be a breeze. 

Skeledirge learns some hard-hitting Ghost, Normal, Ground, and Dark moves. Torch Song, which is its most powerful Fire move, increases its special attack after use. If you pair this move with a high-speed Skeledirge, you are guaranteed quick and easy wins. 

Join the High Ground

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet usher in a captivating world of fresh adventures and brand new Pokémon that do not disappoint. They also include many older generation Pokémon that are nostalgic, strong, and unmatched by many of the newer Pokémon. 

Although there are many new and powerful Generation 9 Pokémon to choose from, there are only a few that are strong enough to stick with you throughout the entire game. Which Pokémon do you think are the best in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more content like this. 

Happy gaming!