The strengths of Temtem's starters explained
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Picking your starter Temtem can have a massive impact on how your experience in the game will be. Each has several strengths and weaknesses. As Temtem‘s current level cap is 48, the final stage evolutions of the starters are not available in the game. Here is how the starters of Temtem match up, and at which point in the game each will be superior.

Houchic, the mental Temtem

Houchic Temtem

Houchic is one of the three starter Temtem available at the start of the game. Houchic’s strength is as a great damage special attacker. Houchic has one of the higher Special Attack values within Temtem and has few weaknesses in the early stages of the game. Mental is weak against Crystal moves and Temtem. Crystal Temtem, however, are very uncommon until the last part of the early-access story mode. 

To start, Houchic learns one of the best moves available to any of the starters in the early levels. Psy Wave is a 61 damage Mental type move. However, the move has a “Hold” of 1. Hold, in Temtem, is the equivalent to an ability’s cool down. In Pokemon, Hold would be comparable to Hyper Beam’s rest turn, or Solar Beam, which takes a turn to charge. With Hold, unlike the moves in Pokemon, other moves can be used on the off-turn. Another move Houchic can learn is Beta Burst at level 20, a 100 power Mental move. Also on Houchic’s list is Psy Surge, a 100 power move that costs eight less stamina to use, at the cost of having 1 Hold.

Later on, Houchic can evolve into Tental after levelling up 29 times. Unlike in other collectible monster games, the evolutions are tied to the level a Temtem is tamed. For example, through breeding, a Houchic starts at level 1. With this situation, it is possible to obtain Tental as early as level 30. However, the starter Houchic evolves at level 34, as it is received at level 5. 

Crystle, the Crystal type

Crystle TemtemSherald

Crystle is the available Crystal type starter. By far, Crystle is the worst starter of them all. Crystle has worse moves than Houchic and Smazee, and learns worse moves later on. Besides this, its stats are not particularly high. The stats, moves, and matchups combined make it the worst starter. However, just like Bulbasaur, a particular part of the community loves the little dude. It has been theorized, however, that the 3rd evolution of Crystle will become one of the most reliable Crystal types in the end-game stage. 

On the other hand, Crystle evolves into Sherald. Sherald is pretty tanky and looks quite impressive. The plus side of Sherald is his ability to learn Crystal Spikes just before evolving at level 27. Crystal Spikes is one of the most potent Crystal skills currently available in Temtem. Besides the 120 base power of this move, it also has 0 Hold, making it possible for Sherald to use this move twice in a row before having to rest. The downside is that the move is both single-target and costs 27 Stamina to use, which is among the highest cost abilities in Temtem.

Smazee, the Melee type that should have a fire move

Smazee TemtemBaboong

Smazee is my personal favorite Temtem so far. Although, my initial expectations for this Temtem were way off; picking Smazee has several significant upsides. Smazee’s main strength is his crazy Attack value, which is among the highest in the entire region. However, this Attack value comes at the cost of any defensive value. Both his Defence and Special Defence values are far lower than those of Houchic and Crystle. Smazee’s Special Defence is so weak that only 8 of the Temtem currently available have a lower base value.

The best move Smazee learns is at level 16. Uppercut has a base value of 80, costing only 12 Stamina to use, with no Hold. This makes it one of the strongest overall moves in the entire game. Besides Uppercut, Smazee can learn Earth Wave and a 90 power multi-target Earth move through breeding. It is highly recommended that if you choose to play Temtem with Smazee, you take the time to learn this move when you arrive in Omninesia, where the breeder’s house is located. 

The evolution of Smazee is Baboong. Smazee evolves into Baboong after levelling up 29 times. This happens at either level 34 if it’s your starter, or level 30 if you choose to breed Smazee for the move set. Baboong learns Inner Spirit at level 40; however, do note that Inner Spirit is currently bugged. Because of this, it is not worth using. The move should have a base power of 170 and costs 23 Stamina to use. However, with 2 Hold, it is already unlikely the move would be effective enough even if it worked as intended. 

My biggest issue using Smazee on my playthrough of Temtem was the fact that at no point, despite his looks, is it able to learn a single fire-damage move. It is a red-colored monkey, and it should be able to learn some fire-move to allow it to fight off Nature type Temtem; however, this is currently not the case.

Picking the right starter Temtem

Whichever Temtem you end up picking, however, is entirely up to you. Any of the starters (besides Crystle, let’s be real here) will be an excellent choice for your playthrough. It is also important to note that unlike in Pokemon, the alternative starters are easy to obtain by playing through the story. So don’t worry about missing out on a Temtem you want for the late-game. 

For more about Temtem, be sure to read all about the game in our beginner’s guide!