How Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s Meowscarada Compares to Past Grass Starters
Though Pokemon Scarlet & Violet grabbed fans’ attention when it announced Sprigatito as the Grass type in the starter trio, many have since been won over by this floral feline. Despite Game Freak seemingly revisiting concepts for inspiration for each generation’s starters, as had been pointed out between Chimchar & Grookey, fans were open to the idea of another cat-based starter line as they contrasted Sprigatito to Gen 7’s Litten. This optimism was likely due to Incineroar quickly becoming a fan favorite, ultimately setting a high bar for Sprigatito.
So now that Meowscarada has finally been revealed & is joining the Grass starter family, fans are already comparing the latest addition to all those that came before it. Whether it’s talk about the reintroduction of dual-type starters, the first of its kind to be a Dark-type, or that it’s another bipedal like the last three before it, the Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Grass starter evolution is a distinct newcomer to the lineup. Seemingly inspired by the European embrace of masquerade balls both for its design & namesake, Meowscarada could become the next fan-favorite among all the other Grass types.
Comparing any of the starters to the originals from Gen 1 can get a little hot under the collar for any Pokemon fan, but Venusaur was among the first to set the st&ard for dual-type final evolutions & the first not to be bipedal. Still, while Venusaur has received a variety of facelifts over the years, from Mega evolutions to Gigantamax forms alongside Blastoise & Charizard, Meowscarada has its charm & character baked in from the start. Leaning into its masquerade inspiration, Meowscarada embodies its Dark-type as much as Venusaur might allude to its Poison-type.
The second of the Grass starters to be introduced & another quadruped like Venusaur, Meganium not only missed out on Mega evolution, but drops the dual-types along with all the other Gen 2 evolution lines. With little else, Meowscarada has a slight edge on Meganium comparatively in terms of type diversity, but the two share a floral design, from visual looks with a flower collar to a moveset that takes advantage of the flower-like attributes. While Meganium’s Pokedex entries point to it being a calming Pokemon, Meowscarada goes in the opposite direction & is characterized as much more antagonistic & deceptive.
Much like Meganium, Sceptile becomes the third Grass starter that drops the dual-type st&ard, which is unusual given the other Gen 3 starters all becoming dual-types. While this was later “fixed” with Sceptile being given a Mega evolution that gave it the Dragon-type, Meowscarada has the same edge on Sceptile as it did on Meganium. But unlike those before it, Sceptile demonstrated that Grass starters could also st& on their own two feet. Given that Gen 3 & its starters continue to be among the most well-liked of generations, it will remain to be seen if Meowscarada’s design will favor it as Sceptile’s has.
As if in a return to form Torterra, like Venusaur & Meganium, not only joined the Grass starter family as a quadruped, but it alongside other Gen 4 starters galvanized the dual-type final stage leading it to become a staple of the Pokemon series. Gen 4 also marks the beginning of when starters began to incorporate gimmicks into their designs, proven by Meowscarada & Torterra being the Magician & Continent Pokemon respectively. However, while it may be difficult to compare their design influences, Meowscarada suffers from more type weaknesses than Torterra does, which could set it back competitively.
A great deal of thought went into the development of Gen 5, & as a result, each of the starters for this generation has been carefully designed. As stated by Ken Sugimori, Serperior represents Western culture, drawing inspiration from plenty of European sources. In this sense, Serperior & Meowscarada might actually be the most closely related despite Serperior’s solo Grass-type, as they both take influence from a similar era of history. With the Gen 5 remakes all but confirmed following Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, Black & White fans could be spending more time with Serperior soon.
In contrast to Chesnaught, Meowscarada appears to be the exact opposite. Not only does Chesnaught have the type advantage of Fighting against Meowscarada’s Dark type, but it appears the two differ in styles of attack. Moreover, while Chesnaught focuses on physical stats, Meowscarada has high attack & special attack, making it a less defensive Pokemon. It’s even more interesting when considering that the Paldea region is based on Spain, while Gen 6’s Kalos region is based on France, making these two starters very close cousins geographically. As fans anticipate DLC for Scarlet & Violet eventually, perhaps this might factor into the two starters’ development in Gen 9.
Unlike Chesnaught, however, Decidueye & Meowscarada appear to be Slice from the same cloth given how the Ghost & Dark types are so closely associated more often than not. But while Meowscarada’s Dark typing makes it an effective opponent against Decidueye’s Ghost type, it still leaves Meowscarada with more type weaknesses, so it’s the players’ choice which they might prefer. It becomes more complicated when considering Deicdueye’s Hisuian form which, like Chesnaught, is Grass/Fighting & would be more formidable. But despite Gen 9’s Paradox Pokemon & their ancient forms, Hisuian Pokemon don’t naturally appear in Scarlet & Violet.
As the generation that has just gone, Rillaboom is probably going to get compared most to Meowscarada as players move from Sword & Shield to Scarlet & Violet. In particular, Gen 9 has returned to having its final stage starters become dual-types, something which Gen 8’s starters diverged from despite some obvious opportunities for Ghost or Dark typings. The Grass/Dark typing could be making amends for Rillaboom’s missed potential, but what it does have over Meowscarada is its Gigantamax form which gave it some prestige. However, this was only added in the DLC, so there could be more in store for Meowscarada yet.
Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are available now for Nintendo Switch.
MORE: Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Leaks Hint at Gen 10 Region Fans Believe to be Italy
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