Pokemon Sword and Shield Starters Evolution Guide – Which Starter Is for You?

Pokemon Sword and Shield is out now, and many have already decided if they’re a part of the Sobble Squad, the Grookey Gang, or the Scorbunny Crew. Everyone’s got an aesthetic, and while opinions differ (Scorbunny is, of course, the only correct opinion), many players may wish to make their decision based on their final evolutions. After all, you wouldn’t enter a tournament with a Charmander when you could use a Charizard, right?

The starters have decent stat spreads and some good move pools this generation, so without further ado, we’re going to breakdown the stats, abilities, and unique moves of the final stage evolutions for the Pokemon Sword and Shield’s starters: Rillaboom, Cinderace, and Inteleon!


Grookey’s final evolution, Rillaboom, has all the stats necessary for a bulky brawler. A high Attack stat paired with decent HP and Defense stats lets them switch-in and take a hit without fainting. Rillaboom isn’t too slow either. With an 85 in Speed, it ties or outspeeds many strong competitive Pokemon. A pure Grass type, the weaknesses are plentiful: Fire, Bug, Ice, Flying and Poison will tear through Rillaboom’s above-average defensive stats. However, its type advantages are excellent. A switch-in against a Water, Electric, or Ground type will safely bring them into play, and force your opponent to deal with an angry taiko drumming gorilla.

Their hidden ability is Grassy Surge, which allows Grassy Terrain to activate for five turns upon entering battle. Grassy Terrain powers up Grass-type moves by 50 percent, and also heals Pokemon by 1/16th of their maximum HP (stackable with Leftovers, which does the same thing)!

Rillaboom’s signature move, Drum Beating, is a physical Grass move with 80 power and 100 accuracy. It brings your targets Speed down, which is absolutely detrimental for most Pokemon. Getting dropped a Speed tier allows Rillaboom to out-speed them, and can turn the tide of battle very quickly.


The absolute king of the starters, and Scorbunny’s final evolution, Cinderace, is a very speedy boy, boasting a blazing 119 base Speed. Coupled with a very high Attack stat of 116, it’s easy to see that Cinderace can dole out the hurt. Average defensive stats coupled with an average HP stat means that Cinderace can’t take a hit, however. As a result, they will require smarter switch-ins to avoid fainting. A pure Fire type — thank Arceus for that, we have enough Fire/Fighting starters — you only really need to watch out for Rock, Ground, and Water attacks to prevent Super Effective hits. Meanwhile, Cinderace will absolutely ruin Bug, Grass, Ice, and Steel types.

Their hidden ability is Libero, which functions exactly the same as Protean. When the player selects an attack, Cinderace’s type will change to the type of attack, guaranteeing STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) on all moves!

Ace of Spades’ has two signature moves. First up is Pyro Ball, which is a physical, stronger, slightly more accurate Fire Blast; with 120 Attack and 90 Accuracy. As with most Fire-type moves, it has a chance to leave a Burn when it connects, dealing 1/16th of maximum HP in damage every turn, and reducing physical damage dealt by 50 percent.

The second signature move is Court Change, which swaps effects from both players’ sides of the fields. This allows you to steal your opponents’ Reflect or Light Screen, giving Cinderace a much needed boost to the defenses!


Who would’ve thought the shy, timid looking Sobble would evolve into The Spy from Team Fortress 2? Inteleon is a fast special attacker with an extremely high base Special Attack of 125 and Speed of 120, allowing them to fit nicely into a Special Sweeper role. Buyer beware, Inteleon’s below average defenses and average HP make for an easy KO. Pure Water types get wrecked by Grass and Electric types, but enjoy resistances against Fire, Ice and Steel type attacks.

Their Hidden Ability, Sniper, boosts the power of critical hits up from 1.5x damage to 2.25x. It’s tough to take advantage of, and pales in comparison to the other hidden abilities the other starters enjoy. You will not be running Scope Lens on Inteleon, nor will you be using Focus Energy. However, it is a nice additional bonus that can sometimes trigger, and secure KOs with.

Inteleon’s signature move, Snipe Shot, is probably the most interesting of the three signature moves this generation. With 80 power and 100 accuracy, this move doesn’t seem too special until you read the secondary effect. Snipe Shot can bypass draw-in effects! Bulky Togekiss using Follow Me to protect their sweeper? Snipe Shot solves that problem, easy. Gastrodon with Storm Drain protecting that Marowak? Snipe Shot will make another Cubone motherless!

That’s the nitty gritty of this generations starters. With pretty decent stat spreads and interesting moves, these starters will probably have a spot on more than a few competitive teams. Which one is your favorite? Sound off and let us know below!

Credit to the Smogon Community and Pokemon Showdown for the plethora of reference materials.