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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl starter guide – Chimchar, Piplup, and Turtwig

Which of the three starters will be the most useful on your journey?

Three Poké Balls sit in a briefcase, rolling around Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

In Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’re tasked with picking your first Pokémon right away. You’ll be able to choose between the water-type penguin Piplup, the grass-type turtle Turtwig, and the fire-type monkey Chimchar.

Our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl starter guide will help you pick the best starter Pokémon for your own needs.

Your choice doesn’t change your gameplay much, but you are picking a companion that you can use for the rest of the game. Fee free to just pick whichever you like best, keeping in mind that all three of the starters gain a secondary type when they evolve into their final form.

Turtwig: Best early game starter

In the short-term, the starter that will give you the biggest advantage is Turtwig, as two of the first four gym leaders are weak against grass-types. Roark, the first gym leader, is a rock-type specialist, and Crasher Wake, the fourth gym leader, is a water-type specialist.

Turtwig evolves into Torterra, a grass- and ground-type.

Chimchar: A rare fire-type

If you’re playing for the long game, Chimchar will be a good choice, as later gym leaders are weak against fire types. (Byron uses steel-types and Candice uses ice-types.) However, by the time you get this deep in the game, you should have a wide variety of Pokémon and shouldn’t be relying on your starter.

Notably, this Pokémon region doesn’t have many fire-types. For most of the game, your only options for fire-types — outside of Chimchar — are Ponyta and Rapidash. That being said, you might want to pick up Chimchar if you want to use a fire-type.

Chimchar evolves into Infernape, a fire- and fighting-type.

Piplup: Adorable, but replaceable

If you’re planning for the Pokémon League, two of the Elite Four members are weak against water-types, so Piplup may be a good choice. Just like with Chimchar, the reliance on Piplup for the late game won’t be necessary, as you will very likely have a fleshed-out party by the time you hit the Pokémon League.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl has a lot of water-type Pokémon to grab. While Piplup will also help you against rock-type specialist Roark, the first gym leader, it’s not anything special. It is a cute little penguin, though, and that counts for something.

Piplup evolves into Empoleon, a water- and steel-type.