How Quaquaval from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Compares to Other Water-Type Starters
Quaxly’s final evolution Quaqaval seems to be the most controversial of the final evolutions of the Scarlet, Violet, and Lilac starters. Fans compare this agile Water/Fighting Pokemon to Pokemon from earlier generations. Quaqaval is causing a stir in the starter final evolution line due to its unique type combination, which has only been seen before with Poliwrath, and the diverse influences that went into its design, from a peacock tail to the cultural history of dancing in Spain. Fans have pointed out that it is very different from Blastoise and Samurott, which makes it a very interesting addition to Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Similar to Sprigatito and Fuecoco, many fans were instantly drawn to Quaxly’s design, and while it spawned a variety of fan designs for its final evolution, it appears that many recognized the path Game Freak intended to take Quaqaval. It diverges from the approaches of bulky final evolutions such as Feraligatr or Swampert to stealth-oriented Pokémon such as Greninja or Inteleon. It remains to be seen whether Quaqaval can hold its own and become another of Pokemon’s final starter evolutions to be remembered fondly.
Unlike Charizard and Venusaur, Blastoise remained the sole Water-type among the three Gen 1 starters, whereas Charizard and Venusaur evolved into Fire-types. As a result, Quaqaval has a type advantage with its Fighting type, but it should be noted that Blastoise has both a Gigamax form and a Mega evolution. Fans may favor Blastoise over Quaqaval due to its status as a Gen 1 starter and its unique water cannon design.
Fans of Feraligatr have been hard at work online comparing its Totodile to the newcomer Fuecoco due to their shared personality, but comparing Feraligatr to Quaqaval carries the same drawbacks as Blastoise. Feraligatr has less of an advantage over Quaqaval due to its Water type and lack of additional forms, so fans might prefer Quaqaval if not for Feraligatr’s Generation 2 legacy. It seems odd to compare the design of Feraligatr, which was intended to reflect the primordial ferocity of crocodiles and alligators, to the more refined appearance of Quaqaval, yet it is the Fighting-type Pokémon.
Despite appearing to have an advantage over Blastoise and Feraligatr due to the fact that it is a dual-type Pokémon, Quaqaval cannot rely on this in comparison to Swampert. Swampert is a popular final evolution of the starter Pokémon Swampert, and its Water/Ground combination is useful at the competitive level. Swampert, like Blastoise and unfortunately for Quaqaval, received a Mega evolution that would have put it ahead if Mega evolutions weren’t left behind in Pokemon. Ironically, Mega Swampert retains its Water/Ground typing despite its design exaggerating its strength and musculature, while Quaqaval continues to be a Fighting-type Pokémon.
Empoleon’s Water/Steel combination unfortunately makes it weaker than Quaqaval’s Water/Fighting, despite Empoleon’s Water/Steel combination marking a change in Water starters’ evolutions becoming more inventive in their designs. In a direct comparison, Empoleon would be at a competitive disadvantage against Quaqaval; therefore, fans of the Gen 4 final evolution may need to embrace its design influences. Both Pokemon are inspired by birds, but while the Pokemon series has many Pokemon based on ducks, such as Psyduck and Ducklett, there are fewer Pokemon based on penguins, which could work in Empoleon’s favor.
Again, Quaqaval has the initial advantage over Samurott, not only for its original Unovan form introduced in Black and White, but also against its Hisuian form introduced in Legends: Arceus. As with Blastoise and Feraligatr, Unovan Samurott is a Water-only type, and despite receiving a dual-type variant in the recent Gen 4-inspired spin-off, even its new Water/Dark typing is inferior to Quaqaval’s Water/Fighting. Samurott appears to share the same irony, as its inspiration comes from the Japanese samurai tradition, despite which it does not share the same Fighting type.
Quaqaval faces the same difficulties as Hisuian Samurott when pitted against Greninja, as Greninja’s Water/Dark type combination is vulnerable to Quaqaval’s Water/Fighting type combination. Greninja’s Dark type reflects its ninja aesthetic, and it became so popular that not only did it receive the Ash-Greninja form from the anime and films, but it also joined Incineroar as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. So while Quaqaval may be more competitive, it does not yet have the same reputation as Greninja.
Quaqaval’s run of type advantages ends with Primarina, as its Fairy typing would make it extremely effective against the Fighting type of the Gen 9 Pokemon. Primarina’s design looks like it was influenced by both a circus sea lion and an opera singer. This is because its moves are based on sounds, and its signature Z-move, Oceanic Operetta, is based on music. It appears that the Gen 7 soloist Pokemon and the Gen 9 dancing Pokemon share some artistic similarities as a unique reflection of their design inspirations, so it could be entirely subjective for fans to choose a favorite.
Competitively, Quaqaval regains the type advantage over Inteleon’s sole Water type, but with each being introduced one generation after the other, it appears that the two Pokémon share many similarities. Both Pokémon are bipedal, draw inspiration from their respective region’s culture, and neither is portrayed as being overly muscular in comparison to Feraligatr or Mega Swampert. Inteleon’s Gigantamax form embraces its sniper motif – something that could have given it another type, such as Dark or even better, Ghost – whereas Quaqaval embraces its dancing-turned-fighting style and dual typing.