Fuecoco reveal smile

Every new generation of "Pokémon" comes with its own set of starters, typically including Fire, Water, and Grass types. These three Pokémon provide players with the options on how to build their team, and also determines what sort of Pokémon their rival will pick. And for some gamers, there’s a certain kind of Pokémon that calls to them each and every game: Fire type.

Even though it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint the best starter in each generation, Fire types offer a number of advantages. Grass types are almost always weak to Fire, as are Bug types. Additionally, Fire types are strong against Steel and Ice types, which makes sense logically – fire heats metal and melts ice, after all. Perhaps more importantly, players think that Fire types look cool. In a poll on Reddit asking players to select Water or Fire types, one gamer pointed out that Fire types overall tend to have more desirable moves, are more powerful, and look the most exciting. Water types may get to learn moves like Surf, but they’ll never be able to shoot a beam of fire and burn through their opponents.

For those looking to pick the best Fire type starter Pokémon of all time, look no further. Here’s every Fire starter, ranked from worst to best.

9. Fennekin

Fennekin in anime looking up

If you ask some "Pokémon" fans, Fennekin might be the most disappointing starter ever. But what is it that makes the little fox such a pain to use in battle? First, its base stats are underwhelming when compared to the other Fire starters on this list. Fennekin doesn’t hit quite as hard as others, nor does it have a skill that stands out from the rest. Though it’s quick and has good Special defense, it’s a difficult Pokémon to master.

Fennekin also has a wide number of weaknesses, which can be a problem if players don’t build their team appropriately. The tiny fox is weak to Ghost, Ground, Rock, Water, and Dark type moves — meaning that most Pokémon have at least one trick that proves effective against the Rire starter.

Of course, not everyone hates Fennekin. Some gamers believe that Delphox, Fennekin’s evolution, is a creative creature due to its combination of Fire and Psychic types. Unlike many of the Fire/Fighting type Pokémon out there, Delphox brings a more delicate and mystical vibe to the table. However, that doesn’t account for how miserable gamers might be while stuck grinding with Fennekin, making it quite possibly the worst Fire starter available across the generations.

8. Chimchar

Chimchar in Pokemon Legends Arceus

Depending on how players feel about monkeys, Chimchar might be hit or miss. That said, many have other, more legitimate reasons for disliking the apish Fire Pokémon. Chimchar has four main weaknesses – Ground, Water, Flying, and Psychic type moves – and doesn’t make up for this fact with more desirable traits. Chimchar’s stats are fine, but they don’t stand out against many of the other Fire starters.

The biggest problem with the hot-blooded monkey? Well, according to a number of commenters online, it all comes down to the Pokémon’s design. Gamers all around the internet have bemoaned Chimchar’s aesthetics when compared to cuter starters. On Reddit, one commenter wrote, "I just don’t like simian Pokémon … I think they’re all pretty ugly, but Chimchar & its evolution line are the worst offenders." Another Redditor argued that while Chimchar might look adorable in its infancy, it soon grows into Infernape, which is terrifying to behold (and arguably, not in a good way).

Because so many gamers are divided over Chimchar’s cuteness factor, and because its stats don’t seem markedly different than any other Fire/Fighting type, Chimchar ranks relatively low on the list.

7. Fuecoco

Fuecoco shocked at fruit

The starters in "Pokémon Scarlet" and "Violet" are all undeniably cute. Still, one look at Fuecoco and you can just tell the little fiery alligator has never had a single thought in its apple-shaped head. Its Pokédex entry describes it as a relatively chill ‘mon, typically found lying about on rocks to soak up the sun and maintain the energy constantly expelled by its tiny tuft of flamelike hair. Although Fuecoco might be adorable, its evolutions look a bit clownish. One Redditor said they’d never evolve Fuecoco because he’s simply too cute in his youngest form. Others chimed in and speculated that the developers spent much more time on these initial "baby" forms, which are more marketable, than later evolutions.

Aesthetics aside, Fuecoco’s stats aren’t so bad. It begins with 67 HP, which is higher than fellow "Scarlet"/"Violet" starter Pokémon Sprigatito and Quaxly. Fuecoco also evolves into a rare Fire/Ghost type. All of that isn’t enough to save Fuecoco from being lower in the ranking, though. Even with its cuteness, it’s just okay.

6. Tepig

Tepig runs apple

Make no mistake: Tepig is incredibly adorable. There’s something so charming about the little pig’s curly tail and round body. However, it’s certainly not the best Fire starter, as it comes from what some Redditors deem a particularly bad set of starting options in the Unova region. Being the best of three weak options doesn’t count for much, though, and for all its cuteness, Tepig just can’t rank any higher than in the middle.

Some players remember Tepig as the only time they’ve ever felt betrayed by a Fire starter. Tepig has all of the same weaknesses as Chimchar, but it’s tankier, boasting a high HP from the beginning. Tepig is heartier than fellow starters Snivy and Oshawott, boasting more HP than its cohorts, but it’s ultimately not as useful or aesthetically pleasing as some of the other Fire starters throughout "Pokémon" history. Because so many of its base stat points are dedicated to HP, Tepig’s other categories, including attack levels and defense stats, are middling. And even though Snivy and Oshawott have the same number of base stat points as Tepig, they’re distributed in a more balanced way.

Some gamers simply felt disappointed that Tepig evolves into – like so many Fire starters – a Fire/Fighting type. The frequency of Fire/Fighting types has led some gamers to feel that the combination is played out or predictable, and they hope for something more inventive with each new generation.

5. Cyndaquil

Ash's Cyndaquil flare up

For Pokémon masters who want a straightforward and loyal Fire starter – with a hint of intrigue, thanks to "Pokémon Legends Arceus" – look no further than Cyndaquil. This memorable starter hails from the Johto region in the second generation of "Pokémon" games, but it also appears as a starter in "Pokémon Legends Arceus," where it can eventually evolve into a new type of Typhlosion. Both versions offer gamers impressive Fire skills and a hefty dose of cuteness.

To be fair, all of the starters in "Gold," "Silver," and "Crystal" are exceptional. Still, among the Fire starters, Cyndaquil sticks out as being one of the more prudent options. In addition to its adorable scrunched-up face and expressive fire spikes, Cyndaquil also boasts a couple of impressive stats. It starts with a base Special Attack of 60, a Special Defense of 50, and a Speed of 65. This means that Cyndaquil is immediately masterful at both using and defending against Special moves, while also being quick enough to gain an advantage in battle if needed.

Though Cyndaquil is Fire through and through in its first appearance as a starter, the Hisuian version of Typhlosion introduced in "Pokémon Legends Arceus" is a Fire/Ghost type. This combo not only serves to make Cyndaquil more versatile in battle, but it looks a bit spookier and more intriguing.

4. Torchic

Torchic flying

A first glance at Torchic might not inspire visions of greatness or overtaking the Elite Four. However, Torchic is not a Fire starter to be messed with. First introduced in the third generation of "Pokémon," Torchic is a solid choice for an aspiring Pokémon Trainer’s roster. The tiny bird’s base stats scream power. It has a base attack of 60 and a Special attack of 70, making it a heavy offensive hitter right from the start. Although Torchic is slightly less skilled at defense, it’s not too shabby in any one area.

Redditors have long complimented Torchic’s cute appearance, specifically noting its round, soulful eyes and tiny wings. Looks surely aren’t everything when it comes to the best Fire starter, of course, but they do account for something. Torchic also eventually evolves into a Fire/Fighting type, but it’s important to note that this was the series’ first Fire/Fighting type starter evolution. When Torchic arrived in the third generation of games, before wave after wave of starters had seared themselves into gamers’ brains, the Fire/Fighting combination felt new, and Torchic seemed like the right bird to evolve into a kung fu master. Blaziken doesn’t resemble the humble orange chick it evolves from, but the spark of its potential is evident in the small bird from the beginning of the game.

3. Scorbunny

Scorbunny sleeping New Pokemon Snap

Scorbunny is a sly, mischievous, and quite powerful Pokémon that appeared for the first time in "Pokémon Sword" and "Shield." It’s a good thing that this kickboxing bunny showed up for the first time on the Nintendo Switch, because its bombastic movements and anthropomorphic evolution track deserve to be seen in 3D.

On the power side of things, Scorbunny has one of the highest attack base stats of any Fire starter. It starts with a base attack of 70 and a Speed of 69, allowing it to hit hard and make a smooth getaway (or swing back in for another turn). Even though Scorbunny seems like a shoo-in for the classic Fire/Fighting type, it’s actually a basic Fire type, making its weaknesses and strengths much simpler to calculate for newer Trainers.

Scorbunny also shows up in another Nintendo Switch title, "New Pokémon Snap," where it shows off its penchant for speed by running laps around the other Pokémon in the area. Scorbunny is particularly difficult to photograph because of its speed, but catching it on camera is well worth the trouble.

2. Litten

Litten anime walking

Litten starts off as an adorable kitten, but it soon enough it evolves into a terrifying anthropomorphic professional wrestler/fire cat. If that sounds wild, it might be surprising to learn that Litten’s evolution, Incineroar, is actually known to a wider audience of gamers because of its status as a playable character in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate." But before that, every Incineroar was once a Litten. Introduced in the seventh generation of "Pokémon," "Sun" and "Moon," Litten is a small Fire type cat that looks strikingly similar to an ordinary kitten.

Of its generation, Litten is easily the most powerful starter early on. It’s pretty fast, with a Speed of 70, and it packs a punch with its 65 Attack stat. And as mentioned previously, it eventually evolve into a real powerhouse Pokémon. That said, Litten’s evolutionary line doesn’t end up at the expected Fire/Fighting type. Instead, despite Incineroar’s athletic tendencies, it remains purely Fire.

Even more interesting are the little details baked into Litten’s Pokédex entires. The "Sun" entry reveals, for example, that Litten shoots out its fire projectiles in the form of hairballs — a great example of art imitating life.

1. Charmander

Charmander in Let's Go Pikachu roaring

Its stats might not be the most impressive, but it’s difficult to outrank Charmander. This small orange dragon started it all, appearing as the Fire type starter in the very first "Pokémon" game. In comparison to Bulbasaur and Squirtle, Charmander might seem like an easy pick. Even though Water type Gym Leader Misty can demolish Charmander in a fight, "Pokémon" has always been about careful team building and versatility. Coming to terms with creating a coherent team early in the game is ultimately helpful for players.

Also, Charmander evolves into Charizard, one of the most iconic and sought-after Pokémon in the series. Charizard is a rare Fire/Flying type Pokémon, though it does have a Dragon subtype in some games, making for an interesting combination of strengths.

Even early in the game, though, Charmander shines. It starts with a base Special attack of 60, and a Speed of 65, making it quick and light in battle while packing a powerful fiery blast. One gamer argued that Charmander was the definitive starter of the first generation, noting, "Of the three highest evolutions, Charizard has the highest base stat total, is the coolest, and can almost fly." It’s hard to argue with that logic!