When does squirtle evolve ? The Pokémon anime has featured a lot of Pokémon since the first episode aired in 1997. Within that, the various evolutions a Pokémon can undergo make up a big part of Ash’s journey and mark momentous occasions within the show. Evolving is at the core of the franchise’s mechanics because it’s required to complete the Pokédex and remain competitive.
It’s a well-known and beloved aspect of Pokémon that if a trainer takes good care of their partner by battling with them, giving them a specific item or meeting some other criteria, a multi-stage Pokémon will naturally evolve.
However, some of Ash’s Pokémon do not evolve in the show. Specifically, out of the first generation’s three starter Pokémon — Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle — only Ash’s Charmander evolves, though all three can.
Bulbasaur and Squirtle May Have Decided Not to Evolve
One Reddit user theorized that the reason Bulbasaur and Squirtle chose not to evolve is because of Charizard. As a Charmander, it was clear to see that they were friends — the episode “Island of the Giant Pokémon” is given as an example of this friendship.
However, once Charmander evolves, he loses his previously friendly attitude, frequently disobeying orders, sleeping on the job and ignoring and attacking Ash.
The fan argues that, upon seeing this drastic change in their friend’s personality, Bulbasaur and Squirtle were so horrified that they swore never to evolve, lest they end up the same way.
Now why Charmeleon and then Charizard refused to heed Ash has been debated. Several people pointed out that traded Pokémon won’t listen to their trainers if their level gets too high.
However, Charmander technically wasn’t traded. Damian, his old trainer, just up and abandoned him — there was no exchange of Pokémon, money or goods.
Charizard’s disobedience could have stemmed from poor commands given by Ash combined with him not really earning his first few badges. Yet, Ash had given odd orders before that were obeyed.
Several comments on the Reddit thread pointed out that Charmander was abused by Damian, which could have resulted in him being negatively affected by such trauma as he evolved.
Whatever the context, not wanting to end up like their former friend seems like a solid reason for Bulbasaur and Squirtle not to evolve.
Pikachu May Have Prevented the Two Pokémon From Evolving
But there’s another Pokémon that could have influenced this decision and affected the choices of several Pokémon afterwards, as one commenter pointed out: Pikachu.
Pikachu famously never evolves, firstly to spite Lt. Surge’s Raichu and then just out of a desire to stay a Pikachu. And yet, Pikachu is easily one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon, able to take on Legendaries and win. Seeing Pikachu’s strength might have prompted Ash’s other Pokémon to think evolution is superfluous.
Does evolution really matter for Ash’s team? Considering Bulbasaur and Squirtle were two of Ash’s powerhouses and possessed strong moves such as Solar Beam and Hydro Pump, probably not. Additionally, the fact that this is implied to be the choice of the Pokémon adds depth to them — a feature which carried the franchise through its earliest years.
Yes, these are cute and cool monsters, but they’re also individuals, which keeps them in fans’ minds for decades. Bulbasaur and Squirtle are memorable, not because they’re two of the most famous Pokémon in the franchise, but because they have character.
10. Assuming Squirtle Is Weak
Many people claim that out of the 3 Kanto starters, Squirtle is the cutest. This often can lead trainers to believe that it lacks power and is lackluster when compared to Charmander and Bulbasaur, however, this is as far from the truth as possible.
Squirtle can tank more hits than either of the other Kanto starters, which directly means that Squirtle can live long enough to dish out more of their own attack as well as saving their trainer some healing items.
9. Not Making Use Of Their Potential Abilities
As with all the Water-type starter pokemon, Squirtle’s most common ability is Torrent. This causes all of this pokemon’s Water-type attacks to become much stronger, for Torrent increases the Attack or Special Attack stats by 50% while Squirtle is under 33% of their max HP.
However, they have another great one, as this starter’s hidden ability, Rain Dish, can grant potential as a solid rain team build due to allowing Squirtle to heal 1/16th of their HP while it is raining on the battlefield.
8. Breeding Without Planning
Breeding for better natures and a different ability is not a bad idea for Squirtle trainers, as selective reproduction can grant a more powerful or specialized partner.
If one cannot, or is unwilling, to use a Ditto for this process, players should seek out pokemon from the Monster or Water 1 egg groups. While the latter will mostly only benefit offspring Squirtle by passing down primarily Water-type moves, the Monster egg group can be used to breed surprising and powerful techniques onto newborn Squirtles.
7. Misusing Squirtle’s Stats
As mentioned before, Squirtles stats are primarily geared towards their defensive traits, granting them greater longevity, however, they are not just a damage-sponge. This aquatic species can also hit back after tanking hits due to usable Attack and Special Attack stats. Their HP is less than ideal, with their Speed being in the same boat, though these both improve upon evolving.
6. Missing Out On Great Level-Up Moves
While leveling up, Squirtle will learn somewhat equal amounts of offensive and status moves, with a relatively even split between physical and special attacks, although the majority will be Water-type.
This grants players the chance to create whatever build they want, whether it is an offensive, defensive, or supportive one.
5. Avoiding Needed TM & TR Moves
Although Squirtle’s level-up moves are pretty solid to work with, it would be a huge error to avoid checking out learnable TMs and TRs, as they can grant some tremendously useful coverage attacks as well as very handy status moves.
Through them, Squirtle can even learn some mighty Ice, Fighting, Dark, Psychic, and even Dragon-type moves.
4. Bypassing Squirtle’s Other Move-Learning Methods
There are quite a lot of excellent move choices that are obtainable via leveling up as well as TMs and TRs, however, these are not the only methods to teach a pocket monster battling techniques.
Breeding and tutoring can offer a few handy tactics for trainers seeking more specific and niche strategies to implement. Furthermore, transferring a Squirtle from an older Pokemon game can allow them to travel to the present while equipped with some moves that this species otherwise cannot access, though, keep in mind that a few of these older moves will not be usable in battle.
3. Evolving Squirtle Too Soon
At level 16, Squirtle will evolve in Wartortle, who will then evolve again into Blastoise once they reach level 36. That is if their trainer lets them change their form, which should not be done right away.
It is advised to not evolve one’s Squirtle until they learn most or all of their moves, for after evolving it takes them, and many other pokemon species, much longer to acquire their level-up moves.
The final attack that Squirtle can learn via leveling up is Skull Bash at level 36, however, learning this attack and all others will comparatively take Blastoise much longer, as exemplified by the final evolution of this line learning Skull Bash at level 56.
2. Giving Them Improper Items
While battling wild pokemon and other trainers, it is advised to let one’s ally hold an item to increase their proficiency in a certain area or enhance the desired tactic.
Common items used in competitive gameplay can be useful if one is going with an offensive build on their Squirtle (or their evolutions) due to tools like Choice Specs and Choice Band giving enough power to be a certain threat thanks to this evolution line’s versatile movepool, however, recovery items can also be great. Builds focusing on defense and support would do well to hand a Squirtle the popular and useful Leftovers item as well as particular kinds of berries.
1. Battling Aggressively
With all that’s been said so far, it is clear that Squirtle can be a very versatile pokemon that can fill the need of any trainer seeking a solid Water-type. However, focusing purely on attacking will undercut a lot of this species’ power.
Having 4 attacks and no status moves are somewhat viable for a Choice build, however, it is far better to let Squirtle boost themselves with moves such as Shell Smash, which greatly surpass the buff given by items while not locking them into a single move.
Other status moves that focus on healing, like Aqua Ring, or defensive ones that increase longevity, such as Iron Defense, can also be great boons in battle, so be sure to give one’s Squirtle a build that lets them flourish in a unique manner instead of copy and pasting a set meant for typical competitive favorites.
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