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The Best Starting Pokémon, According to the Data

We’ve been trying to catch ’em all for two decades years now, but for Pokémon‘s 20th anniversary it’s time to look back at the games that started ’em all: Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version. These small squares of circuitry and plastic were the first real obsession for many of us, tasking young gamers with the first real choice in our lives. Which pokémon should you choose at the start of the game?

In my latest Because Science, I’m trying to use data to solve this eternal question. Of course you can catch pokémon throughout the game to make any battle easier, but if you had to rely on one starter, against the toughest trainers in the game, which would be the best choice? I chose to look at type match-ups between all starting pokémon and the gym leaders’ pocket monsters. All things being equal, a pokémon with a type advantage or no disadvantage will have the best chance of winning. Totaling up all the advantages and disadvantages, there is one clear choice. Sometimes it wears sunglasses.

Now I know many of you are going to hate this analysis, but Pokémon speedrunners swear by it, and advantages in HMs, TMs, and learned moves add to the conclusion.

Is there a better way to choose a starter? Want to get even nerdier in the comments below? Go for it, be the very best.

Check out my last video on why Iceman’s powers would actually produce a giant fireball, subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show, buy a Because Science shirt (you know why), and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode!

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