They say you can’t beat the originals, and getting the first three starters within a Pokémon game always seems like an achievement. Now that the Isle of Armor DLC has been released for Pokémon Sword and Shield, trainers can get their hands on Bulbasaur and Squirtle (and of course Charmander in the main game).

If you’d like to know how to get hold of each of the three starters, then keep on reading. We also have a tutorial on how to get started with the Isle of Armor DLC if you’re struggling.

How to get Charmander in Pokémon Sword and Shield

If you want to get your hands on the fire-starter Charmander (which eventually evolves into Charizard) you’ll need to defeat Leon and become champion of the Galar region.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll wake up back home in Postwick. Head on over to your rival Hop’s house across the road. When you enter, go up the stairs and head right into Hop’s room. There, a Poké Ball will be waiting on the floor with a note from Leon, saying its a gift for you.

If you pick it up, you’ll get the fiery Charmander all for yourself!

Charmander sword shield

How to get Bulbasaur and Squirtle in the Isle of Armor DLC

As the heading suggests, you’ll need to purchase the Isle of Armor DLC first before you can get your hands on Bulbasaur or Squirtle within the game storyline.

You should follow through with the main DLC quest line by visiting the Master Dojo, Mustard, and completing the first of the three trials to obtain the Armor after you’ve defeated your new rival for the first time.

The first trial is to capture three of the fast Slowpoke. You’ll be able to spot them in the Soothing Wetlands, creating big clouds as they run in circles. The easiest way to catch them is to use your Rotom Bike, and watch the pattern that the Slowpoke take and intercept them. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to battle each one and defeat them.

Once that’s all done, head back on over to the Dojo. Honey will bring out both Bulbasaur and Squirtle, and offer for you to take one of them to train. Both of these are capable of Gigantimaxing. However, they can only do this in their final forms (Venusaur and Blastoise), and it will take a while to get them there considering that they start at level 5.

Bulbasaur and Squirtle

How to get all three starters on your team

As far as we’re aware at the moment, you can’t get all three starters organically through the game, as you have to choose between Bulbasaur and Squirtle. Either you’ll have to play through the Isle of Armor twice, trade with a friend via Link Trade or import them from a previous game using Pokémon HOME.

The best games for this are the physical copies of Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu! and Pokémon Let's Go Eevee!, or if you have a Pokémon bank on your 3DS that is linked to Pokémon HOME.

How to transfer Pokémon using Pokémon HOME

Here’s a basic overview of how to transfer your Bulbasaur or Squirtle into your party on Sword and Shield.

  • Insert your game cartridge of the game you wish to transfer Pokémon from
  • Open Pokémon HOME from your Switch main menu
  • Select ‘Pokémon’ and choose the game you wish to transfer Pokémon from
  • Make sure Bulbasaur and/or Squirtle are in your boxes - not in your party - and select which one you want (you can only do one at a time)
  • Deposit them into your boxes in Pokémon HOME, save and quit
  • With Pokémon HOME still running in the background, change your game cartridge to Pokémon Sword/Shield
  • Select Pokémon and choose the game you want to transfer to
  • When your Pokémon HOME boxes appear, select which Pokémon you want and deposit them into your Sword/Shield game
  • Save and quit - now you’ll have successfully transferred your Pokémon over

You should be aware that any Pokémon you transfer using this method won't be able to Gigantimax.