Starters Pokemon BDSP
Image: Nintendo Life

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are available now on Switch and players around the world are starting their journey back to the Sinnoh region. Like all mainline Pokémon games, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl feature three starter Pokémon that players that you’ll get to choose from early in your journey.

This is a choice that you don’t get to change, and you’ll not be able to catch the other two starter Pokémon under normal circumstances, so it’s a big decision, but which is the best starter Pokémon?

Well, in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl there’s only really one option, however, it’s not without some drawbacks.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl - Which is the Best Starter Pokémon?

Chimchar was the best choice in 2006, is still the best in 2021

Chimchar is a fire-fighting starter and in the original generation 4 games, practically essential to completing the game. In the original generation 4 games, Chimchar was one of only two fire types that you could encounter before the post-game, creating a situation where if you didn’t pick the fire monkey, you’d be stuck with Ponyta, or no fire type at all.

Thankfully in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the dearth of fire types has been fixed, but few of them hit quite as hard, or have access to such a wide type spread of moves as Chimchar.

Chimchar Pokémon BDSP
Image: Nintendo Life

In Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Chimchar is a solid choice, and its final evolution Infernape has a lot of advantages, but it’s not without its flaws. Infernape has a low defence stat and is double weak to Water, Ground, Flying and Psychic. It does have a great attack stat, making it a bit of a glass cannon, so there’s definitely a spot on your team for it, but you’ll have to surround it with sturdier Pokémon in order to get the best out of it.

It can also learn a variety of elemental punch attacks, making it incredible for covering weaknesses in a team, which is essential in the late game.

Chimchar’s second evolution, Monferno, which Chimchar will evolve into at level 14 and learn the fighting type move Mach Punch will dominate the first gym, which is a rock type. The second gym, which is a grass type, is a similar breeze, you’ll rarely have to switch from your starter.

Later in the game, you’ll encounter the sixth gym, which is steel type, and by that time you should have Infernape. Infernape’s combination of fire and fighting type moves will make this gym incredibly easy. The same can be said for the next gym, which is ice-type. You’ll also breeze through the first of the Elite 4, whose bug-type Pokémon won’t stand a chance against Infernape.

A great move pool, type advantage against tons of trainers, and high attack make Chimchar our pick for the best starter in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but no Pokémon is perfect.


Let us know who you pick in the comments when you begin your journey back to Sinnoh.

This article is part of our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl walkthrough and guide series, which includes every version-exclusive Pokémon in each version of the game, advice on the best Sinnoh starter Pokémon to choose, and all the old and new Pokétch Apps, plus how to get specific Pokémon such as Mew and Jirachi, Rilou and Lucario, Manaphy and Phione, Arceus, Eevee, Leafeon And Glaceon, Cresselia, Rotom, Ditto, Spiritomb, Heatran, Regigigas, and — of course — the mighty Feebas.

We also cover how to catch 17 Legendaries in Ramanas Park, where to find the Defog HM and chain catching (or how to increase your chances of catching Shiny Pokémon), plus how to earn money fast, how to beat the Elite Four, how the Trophy Garden works, and how to get the DS sounds and Catching Charm. We also have a full and updated list of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Mystery Gift codes, plus we tell you how to unlock the Mystery Gift function, too.

And finally, Where to Buy Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl on Nintendo Switch, if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game!