Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are the latest Pokemon games to arrive on Nintendo Switch, releasing on the 19th November.

The two highly anticipated titles are remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, which were originally released in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. As the first Pokemon titles to release on Nintendo’s dual screen handheld console, the games were responsible for boosting sales of the hardware upon release and – as of September 2017 – had sold a combined total of 17M units worldwide.

Despite how many players will be familiar with Diamond and Pearl, however, with the games being fifteen years old, there’s going to be a large number of Switch gamers taking their first steps in the Sinnoh region without having played the originals.

Not only that, but even players who did experience the DS titles may not have played the games for a decade or more – so a little refresher on the very first choice to be made in the game is likely to be in order.

Upon starting the game, much like other Pokemon titles it’s not long before players are presented with three Pokemon to begin their adventures with. In Diamond and Pearl, those three Pokemon are Chimchar, Piplup and Turtwig. Based on what we know about the starter Pokemon and Gyms from the original DS games, let’s take a look at what starter to choose in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl shall we?



An ape-like Pokemon with a fiery tail, Chimchar is a Fire type Pokemon. Chimchar evolves the earliest of all three starters at level 14, so in theory becomes more powerful a little faster than the others when becoming Monferno. However, he’s weak against Rock before he evolves – and the first Gym in the game is Rock-based.

So be prepared to grind a bit to get Chimchar evolving into the Fire/Fighting type Monferno before tackling that first Gym! Chimchar copes admirably with the next few Gyms – only really having an issue with the fifth Gym’s Ghost type Pokemon, but by then players should have a decent selection of Pokemon to choose from.

Chimchar’s final evolution, Infernape – which kicks in at level 36 – is a Fire/Fighting type Pokemon that has some strong, fast attacks.


A penguin-esque, Water type Pokemon, Piplup evolves first into the Water type Prinplup at level 16 (slightly later than Chimchar’s first evolution) and then into the Water/Steel type Empoleon at level 36.

Piplup will do well at the first Gym but is weakest against the second Gym’s grass type Pokemon – and it’s worth noting that the eighth and final Gym can be problematic too, though of course by this stage players should have a decent variety of levelled up Pokemon to select from.


turtwig pokemon

Finally, there’s the cute plant/turtle hybrid Turtwig, a Grass type Pokemon whose first evolution – Grotle – makes its first appearance later than the other two starters at level 18.

However, Torterra – Turtwig’s second evolution, a Grass/Ground type Pokemon – arrives pretty early and much faster than the other starter Pokemon, at level 32. So theoretically, Turtwig is a good choice for players looking to get to that final evolution as quickly as possible.

Turtwig is strong in the first Gym too, performs generally well in the others but has problems with the seventh Gym. The good news is that Turtwig is the strongest of all of the starters at the eighth Gym too – making it a solid choice for the later stages of the game.

As you can see, all have their advantages and disadvantages. Chimchar generally has the edge overall, being most effective in terms of strength against the types found at the Gyms – but Turtwig comes close and also becomes stronger a bit faster than the others through evolving.

Piplup does well in the very first Gym, at a stage where you might not have a very big selection to choose from – so in our opinion, Piplup is a good choice for beginners. Of course, it’s not all about the Gyms and all three starter Pokemon have their strengths and weaknesses against numerous Pokemon and types throughout the game.

So there’s a look at what starter to choose in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl!

There’s no right or wrong choice of starter Pokemon of course – the most important thing is to have fun as you try and catch ‘em all! If you want even more guides about the upcoming games, be sure to check out how to catch Jirachi and Mew in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’ll want them in your team!


Jason - who lives in the UK - has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System - which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer - and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 900 articles on the blog alone!).