Which starter to choose in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

One starter stands out above the rest in Gen IV.

The starter you choose at the beginning of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl plays a huge influence on the rest of the game. Each of them can help you beat the game, but due to several reasons, one starter stands out from the rest. So, regardless of which starter you think looks the best or has your favorite element type, Chimchar is the best choice among the three if you want an easier playthrough. The other two are best for people who want a more challenging playthrough.

I choose you!

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

$60 at Best Buy (Brilliant Diamond) $60 at Best Buy (Shining Pearl) $60 at Amazon (Brilliant Diamond) $60 at Amazon (Shining Pearl)

Pick the best one

You and your Pokémon team need to travel around the Sinnoh region defeating gym leaders, capturing Pokémon, and putting a stop to Team Galactic. The starter you choose will determine how easy it is to beat the game.

But why Chimchar?

There are several reasons why Chimchar is the best choice. Believe me, I'm not happy about this, and I'm sure many of you aren't either. My favorite starter is Piplup, but Chimchar does have advantages that the other starters don't offer.

Reason #1 Fire-type scarcity

As with all Pokémon games, the Gen IV remakes follow a type system. Many entries in the series do a decent job balancing out the different types of Pokémon you encounter throughout your journey. However, Diamond and Pearl's Pokédex has a rather significant shortage of Fire types, and the same holds true in the Gen IV remakes. Therefore, if you want any hope of getting a decent Fire-type Pokémon early on, your only hope is to go with Chimchar.

Note: Of course, if you decide to go with Turtwig or Piplup, you'll just want to capture and train up a Ponyta (Fire) as soon as you can to make the rest of the game a little more doable. This fiery horse can be found on Route 206, 210, 211, 214, and 215.

Reason #2 Gym effectiveness


  • Chimchar (Fire) → Monferno (Fire/Fighting) → Infernape (Fire/Fighting)

Chimchar might struggle against the first Rock-type gym leader, but if you get him to level 14 and evolve him to Monferno first, he'll learn Fighting moves and will breeze through the battle. After that, his Fire and Fighting attacks are a very powerful choice against the following gyms. Not to mention, he's the best choice to use against the Elite Four at the end of the game since he can easily KO at least two of each Elite Member's Pokémon.

Note: Rapidash, Ponyta's evolution, can be decently effective at the end here as well. But since it doesn't know Fighting-type moves, it won't be as effective against some of the Pokémon you face.

Chimchar for president

Chimchar is by far the best starter to choose in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl if you want an easier playthrough. Of course, if you're looking for more of a challenge or you really don't want to have Chimchar as your starter, Piplup and Turtwig can help you fight your way to the end as well.