The Fennekin line is available as one of the Kalos Starter Pokémon from Tierno upon reaching Aquacorde Town for the first time.
What's this? A new Fire-type starter that isn't part Fighting? Yep, behold the first Fire/Psychic non-event Pokémon and it comes in the region with the largest amount of competition on both-types, with Charmander, Ralts, Abra and Fletchling all being available very early on. It also suffers from a very shallow movepool with several common weaknesses when fully evolved. However it is packing a great offensive typing and a spectacular range of resistances to gym-types along with impressive special stats and speed. It's not the easiest Fire starter to work with but it still provides heavy competition to its alternatives.
Shauna (Aquacorde Town): Spam Ember, watch Chespin get wrecked, there is no way you can legitimately lose this fight.
Gym #1 - Viola (Santalune City, Bug-type): Not as good as a matchup as one might think. Surskit has STAB Bubble to mess with the fox and Water Spout nerfs Ember effectiveness against Vivillon. This one defies the concept of early game bug with good offensives and special defense meaning that it will likely be able to barely outlast you as Ember around level 11 will be a 2-3HKO. Be cautious of Infestation, the residual damage will turn Tackle from a 3HKO into a 2HKO.
Professor Sycamore (Lumiose City): Stay away from Squirtle, torch Bulbasaur with Ember/Flame Charge and Charmander presents a conundrum. While you can attempt to Tackle it repeatedly, Smokescreen and Scratch will likely win out. Therefore, unless you have nothing else that is neutral or resistant to Fire, use another Pokémon.
Tierno (Route 5): This jackass has freaking Swords Dance on his Corphish. It also carries Vicegrip, which hurts a lot coming off its high attack stat at plus 2. For the sake of your Pokémon send anything that has a Grass or Electric move at this, you do not want it setting up.
Tierno and Trevor (Route 7, tag battle with rival): For Corphish, see the above mention of the route 5 encounter. Trevor leads with Pikachu, which will proceed to flatten your partner's Fletching (Fun fact, this one has Gale Wings and never shows up after this). Frogadier will come in as a replacement, Psybeam will do a chunk to the annoyance as well as taking out Corphish before it can start steamrollering through your team due to Swords Dance. Flabébé has Vine Whip and Fairy Wind at its disposal, neither will be doing much to Braixen.
Gym #2 - Grant (Cyllage City, Rock-type): Do I need to explain why sending a Fire-type up against a Rock gym is a bad idea? Psybeam will not OHKO either of his Pokémon and both will OHKO back with Rock Tomb
Korrina (Geosenge Town, Fighting-type): While Braixen does have a-type advantage over the twin Lucario, Ember and Flame Charge will not OHKO them and after a Swords Dance, both outspeed you and devastate Braixen with STAB Power up Punch, which boosts their attack even further. Why the devs thought that two SD Lucario before the third gym was appropriate is beyond me.
Rival (Tower of Mastery): Meowstic is manageable, just be careful of Light Screen and Fake Out as they will both drag out the fight, increasing the chance of it getting a crit with Psybeam, which, unlike yours, is a viable threat. Frogadier is an obvious no-go, STAB Water Pulse is not something that Braixen will want to take. Absol hits really hard and has Super Luck and Slash for Crithax shenanigans. Also STAB Bite is nothing to underestimate either, Better to use another Pokémon for it.
Gym #3 - Korrina (Shalour City, Fighting-type): I'd advise you grind for Psyshock or evolution at this point as the former will make this fight much easier while the latter utterly annihilates it. Meinfoo falls to one Psyshock or Psybeam and leads with Fake out for chip damage. Power up Punch returns but none of her Pokémon should be getting more than one off. Machoke is why I suggest bringing Psyshock as it has the special defense needed to withstand a few Psybeams while hammering you with Rock Tomb. Hawlucha is fast and carries the unique Flying Press, which hits rather hard against Braixen but the Luchadore is frail, meaning it won't take a Psyshock. Delphox completely ruins everything in this gym between Mystical Fire and Psyshock, if you grinded for evolution.
Rival (Courmarine City): It's the same team as last time, right down to the movesets. However there is a possibility you have a Delphox by now, in which case Meowstic becomes laughably easy to take down with Mystical Fire, although Light Screen is still a nuisance, and Absol's Bite is much more threatening. You could probably take Frogadier as well, due to its average special attack and Water Pulse's mediocre power being a 2HKO on Delohox while Psyshock tears it apart. I would still recommend a Grass or Electric-type to deal with it though (Maybe Mega Venusaur?)
Gym #4 - Ramos (Coumarine City, Grass-type): Mystical Fire all the things. You should only potentially be outsped by Jumpluff and even with Leech Seed, you should still end this battle in three turns. Acrobatics will hurt though and don't switch directly in on Gogoat as Bulldoze will do uncomfortable amounts of damage while lowering your speed, putting you at risk of a second one. Barring a crit however you should be able to easily two shot it while it need three Bulldozes to beat you (assuming Delphox is at level 36 with a neutral nature).
Aliana (Kalos Power Plant): Don't. It's a Dark-type.
Gym #5 - Clemont (Lumiose City, Electric-type): Emolga's annoying as hell and will be able to withstand a Mystical Fire/Psyshock barely and Volt Switch out. The Elesa flashbacks stop when you realize that the other two have a Fire weakness (Magneton through Typing, Heliolisk thanks to Dry Skin) Fry this two twerps (Disclaimer: Magneton has Sturdy and Electric Terrain, meaning that if Heliolisk outspeeds, Thunderbolt will hurt.)
Rival (Route 14): Meowstic's learnt Psychic but that's it for changes on its end, It will still open with Fake Out and then set up Light Screen if you give it the chance. Absol is essentially unchanged from the last fight, so unless you want to get hit by a STAB super effective move coming off a base 130 attack, Keep Delphox out of this. The Frogadier's evolved and now carries Water Shuriken, while it only becomes a problem if it hits more than 3 times in one turn, Grass Knot won't OHKO back and Greninja is the fastest non-mega evolved starter. I'll let you figure out how this will end.
Gym #6 - Valerie (Laverre City, Fairy-type): First up is a Steel-type, Mawile. You're fielding a Fire-type, that not only resists Play Rough, fries it with Mystical Fire/Flamethrower. Just don't switch in on it as Crunch will hurt. Get something that can hit Mr. Mime for Super effective damage as it will withstand a Fire Attack and set up Screens against you, just throw Poison Jab on something that isn't weak to its STABs. Sylveon is really bulky on the special spectrum, it would be a shame if you had a move that dealt physical damage despite being a special attack now, wouldn't it? In other words, use Psyshock.
Celosia and Bryony (Poké Ball Factory, tag battle with rival): Manectric is not too hard for Delphox. Liepard, on the other hand, packs quite a punch with the type effectiveness, so avoid that one.
Mable (Frost Cavern): Again, type matchups are not in Delphox's favour here. Avoid this battle.
Rival (Anistar City): Meowstic now carries Shadow Ball, however so can you. It will still open with Fake Out but you're faster, stronger and bulkier than it. Blow the feline sky high and there's no Light Screen shenanigans anymore. Absol and Greninja are still bad ideas as this isn't ORAS, you don't have access to Dazzling Gleam, and Absol now has Night Slash to take advantage of Super Luck. Greninja now also has Dark Pulse which works off its higher special attack. They also now use a Flareon... which carries Bite, but is slow and frail, just use Psyshock/Psychic. Of all the Fire-types they could have, why not that Gale Wings Fletchling?
Gym #7 - Olympia (Anistar City, Psychic-type): She leads with Sigilyph, which carries dual screens (anyone else notice a trend?) and will use Air Slash to deal damage and potentially fish for flinches. I'd advise not throwing Delphox at it as an unSTABed Shadow Ball won't oneshot it, allowing it get to get its screens up, making this fight harder than it needs to be. Slowking should obviously be avoided, unless it is not carrying a Water move (it's not.) Shadow Ball/Grass Knot should be a 2HKO but be wary of Calm Mind and Power Gem, after enough boosts, you won't be doing much while it massacres you in response. (Bring a couple of X-Specials to plough through this lot, simply stall out Light Screen against Sigilyph) Meowstic will open with Fake Out and then start setting up Calm Minds, you'll still be able to punch through it with Shadow Ball before it starts using it back. A physical attacker with Bug, Dark or Ghost moves is still more advisable, being able to ignore the special defense boost.
Lysandre battle #1 (Lysandre Labs): Blow Mienfoo away with your Psychic move and you could potentially take Murkrow as well with Flamethrower, although you don't want to take a Foul Play. Pyroar is bad due to having Rivalry and being male, starters have a gender ratio skewed towards males. This makes Dark Pulse much more painful. Although if you got a female starter, it's nerfed to 75% of its normal power allowing you to hammer it with Psyshock/Psychic. Gyarados is obviously a Pokémon you don't want to mess with as Aqua Tail will effortlessly take down Delphox.
Aliana (Lysandre Labs): There's another annoying Mightyena that will probably not be beaten in one hit, and then Druddigon which can tank a lot from Delphox and hit back with its massive Attack. Yeah, not Delphox's place to be.
Celosia (Lysandre Labs): Manectric is once again fine, as it won't do a lot to Delphox, but avoid Drapion; it has Night Slash and that's frightening.
Bryony (Lysandre Labs): Both are Dark-types, but Bisharp is thankfully weak to Fire so you can deal with that one. Just avoid Liepard for safety reasons - you can probably take a hit from it, but you never know when it will crit next.
Mable (Lysandre Labs): No no NO, everything is Dark, everything is bad. Even though Weavile is weak to Fire, it WILL outspeed Delphox and kill it with Night Slash. Don't fight these.
Xerosic (Lysandre Labs): While Crobat is fast, it only can really do damage with Cross Poison, while you devastate it in retaliation with your Psychic STAB. Do note that it has a high critical ratio and poison chance, which will be a nuisance. Malamar will likely open with Retaliate which will do a chunk of damage. Add it carrying STAB Payback, which combined with its low speed means you will hit first and this is a Pokémon you don't want to have Delphox up against.
Lysandre battle #2 (Team Flare Secret HQ): This time the Mienfoo's evolved... at level 47. Just hit it with Psyshock. Same rules as before apply to Pyroar and Gyarados, since they've only gained levels. Murkrow's also evolved and its Night Slash will OHKO you. This isn't that good a fight for Delphox, save it for later.
Xerneas (Team Flare Secret HQ, X only): You somewhat wall Xerneas as it only has Moonblast and Megahorn for attacks. However while Flamethrower and Psyshock/Psychic do decent damage, the main threat here is Geomancy. While it does require a charge turn, it gives the X-dear the equivalent of a double Quiver Dance, and not much can take a +2, STAB, Fairy Aura boosted Moonblast, even if they resist it.
Yveltal (Team Flare Secret HQ, Y only): Yveltal is a super powerful Dark-type with an ability that pushes Dark Pulse well into the being able to cleanly oneshot you. Just throw the Master Ball here, they're like Reshiram/Zekrom and will keep fighting you until you catch them.
Lysandre battle #3 (Team Flare Secret HQ): Oh boy, where do we begin? As before stay away from Honckrow and Gyarados. Night Slash and Aqua Tail are still certain to flatten you and Gyarados can mega to increase the overkill/avoid your Psychic move in a pinch. It also has Earthquake in all three fights so it can choose how you die. Meinshao's still a clear target and Pyroar is still dependent on how Delphox affects rivalry.
Professor Sycamore (Couriway Town): He's still packing the Kanto trio and none of them can Mega. Repeat what happened in Lumiose by torching Venusaur, avoiding Blastoise and Charizard's still somewhat of a 50/50 although your secondary STAB has more power behind it than Wing Attack. So you should be okay taking it on as well.
Shauna (Route 19): Shauna's up first and she leads with a Delcatty, which is as threatening as you think it is. It does have Return though, so that could potentially soften you up for the next one. Goodra is at level 49... again? It would need one more level to be legit here, come on. Anyway, this pseudo is the specially bulky as hell one, meaning that it will eat stray Psychics, Flamethrowers and Shadow Balls happily. It also has a base 100 attack and Earthquake to lay the smack down on our fire fox mage. Chesnaught is really slow and weak to both of your STABs. History repeats huh?
Tierno (Route 19): Tierno opens up the routine with the bravest bird around. Acrobatics will hurt but Psyshock/Psychic hits back harder. It is a hell of a lot faster than you though, so I'd advise against trying this unless the rest of your team is weak to Flying. Roserade however is a easy target, click Flamethrower/Psychic move and watch it go down. The Crawdaunt who gave you hell back on route 5 is still a terrible choice for Delphox, carrying both Crabhammer and Night Slash to deal tons of damage. Send a Bug, Electric, Fairy, Fighting or Grass-type after it instead, you should have at least one of those by now.
Trevor (Route 19): Trevor starts off with Raichu, the superior electric mouse. The biggest threat here is Nuzzle due to the paralysis chance however as you have the bulk to shrug off Thunderbolt while ruining it with your STAB move of choice. Aerodactyl carries Ancientpower as its super effective STAB, if it wasn't for Crunch, I'd say you could likely take it as well thanks to your Psychic attacks. Florges is really bulky but can't hit you for neutral damage. It may take awhile, and a Poison or Steel-type is advised instead, but you can slowly take it out, just note it has Confide to lower your special attack, dragging the fight out even more.
Gym #8 - Wulfric (Snowbelle City, Ice-type): He leads with Abomasnow, which ranges in threat level from nonexistent to lol get wrecked to any Fire-type. Crygonal might actually outspeed you and go for Confuse Ray, which is more of an annoyance then anything else. Due to the floating Snowflake having high special defense but paper for physical, Psyshock is the better option over Flamethrower if you still have it. Avalugg is the opposite of Crygonal, sacrificing the chance to come close to outspeeding for even higher physical bulk. Just use Flamethrower and end this, the only damage you should have taken is hail induced. Do note that if you want to end this match with a stylish bang, Snowbelle's where the elemental beams tutor is located. I still wouldn't recommend Blast Burn in the long run though.
Rival (Victory Road): Compared to the mass of powerful Pokémon surrounding this fight, this is relatively easy but comes just before a NPC who will heal you. Meowstic, Absol and Flareon are the same as they were back in Anistar, only higher leveled. Same advise applies. Greninja is carrying Ice Beam now, but that's irrelevant as Dark Pulse still means it will beat Delphox in a straight up fight. The only major difference is that you now have an Altaria to deal with. This will go down to a couple of Psyshocks, if it wasn't for Confide lowering your special attacking, and it will spam it. You should have something with Ice Beam by now, use that instead.
Elite Four Wikstrom (Pokémon League, Ironworks Chamber, Steel-type): Klefki may look pathetic, and one Flamethrower will take it out, but Prankster means it will either get up a layer of Spikes or hit you with Torment before going down. Probopass is carrying STAB Power Gem to nail you with, however it's not that powerful to begin with, meaning that even with Sturdy preventing you from OHKOing it (twice after he heals), you should come out on top. Scizor will fall with ease to one Flamethrower/Fire Blast, but be careful of your HP as it will pick off a weakened Delphox with Technician Bullet Punch and for the love of God, don't attempt to take on Aegislash, as it will withstand a Fire attack in shield form before decimating you with Shadow Claw on the offensive.
Elite Four Malva (Pokémon League, Blazing Chamber, Fire-type): The second Elite Four Fire-type specialist is a bit of a mixed bag for Delphox as while you resist the primary STAB thrown about, all of her Pokémon have ways to deal large amounts of damage very quickly. Her Pyroar is female, meaning that Hyper Voice/Wild Charge are most likely nerfed by Rivalry. Feel free to flatten it with your Psychic STAB. Torkoal is really slow but it has the bulk to tank one Psychic move before retaliating with Stone Edge/Earthquake, not worth it, especially with Edge's high critical chance. Chandelure's rocking a nuclear special attack with STAB SE Shadow Ball to exterminate you with, your one won't take it down before it gets one off. Talonflame hits like a truck with Brave Bird and it will outspeed you but you should be able to tank one at full health and bring the birdy down with Psyshock/Psychic.
Elite Four Drasna (Pokémon League, Dragon-type): While you do have STAB SE Psychic moves to hammer Dragalge, it is rather bulky, meaning that there is a high chance it will live and respond with Surf, which will hurt. While the odds are technically in your favour, it is depending on the dragon not getting a critical. In a pinch its worth it but otherwise send something that can hit its weaker physical defense. (Psyshock is again more advisable than Psychic here for that reason). Altaria can shrug off your attacks thanks to its impressive special bulk and Cotton Guard. It also deals decent damage with Dragon Pulse or puts you to sleep. Just use something with Ice Beam against this and Noivern, which will use Super Fang to make you a easy target for Dragon Pulse thanks to its high speed. Druddigon is bulky, has Retaliate to hammer you when it comes in and will shuffle you with Dragon Tail. You can throw off one or two Psyshocks to soften it up, however.
Elite Four Siebold (Pokémon League, Flood Chamber, Water-type): Seriously, do I really need to explain why you shouldn't have Delphox anywhere near this fight? All of his Pokémon will crush you with their STAB moves, with Gyarados potentially using it as setup fodder with Dragon Dance before sweeping. However you are faster than his lead Clawitzer so setting up Sunny Day and spamming Solar Beam is a viable tactic should you be attempting a sololocke/have no other Pokémon capable of fighting Water-types. Barbaracle doesn't give a hoot about Razor Shell being nerfed and will instead smash Delphox with Stone Edge, if it wasn't really slow and suffering from a 4x Grass weakness. Still don't try it with Grass Knot/or at all unless over leveled as this could go badly very quickly. Starmie is likely to set up Light Screen if you are attempting the sunnybeam assault, which will bring an end to the fire fox if it outspeeds on the last sun turn.
Champion Diantha (Pokémon League, Radiant Chamber): Hawlucha is laughable, being outpaced and OHKO'd by your Psychic move of choice and Gourgeist is not lasting long against a Fire-type. Aurorus is more manageable than you would think, carrying only Blizzard and Thunder for damaging moves. However while it does seem like a viable set up target for Calm Mind, it does have Dual Screens at its disposal. Therefore to make a particular Pokémon less threatening, send something that can hit one of its many weaknesses at it. Goodra still walls everything you could throw at it and it has 110 base special attack to respond with Muddy Water. If you had set up against Aurorus, you're free to just sweep from here after stalling out Light Screen. However Tyrantrum presents a massive roadblock as it will take an unboosted hit and annihilate Delphox with STAB Head Smash. Mega Gardevoir is the reason you don't want her to get either Light Screen or Reflect up as it hits incredibly hard and has impressive bulk. This is suicidal unboosted as your Shadow Ball/Flamethrower will struggle to 2HKO and its own will blow Delphox apart. However with a couple of Calm Minds, you should be able to withstand Gardevoir's attacks and deal hefty amounts back, if not straight up OHKO it as you're still faster, even after it megas.
Fennekin comes equipped with Tackle, Tail Whip and Ember. At level 11 it gains Howl which, while useful in the short term for Tackle and the next move it learns, goes against the line's inclination towards the special stats. Two levels from evolution and the fennic fox gains access to Flame Charge which does compliment Ember nicely as while it comes off your weaker attack stat, the speed buff is enjoyable. As a Braixen, reaching level 18 grants access to foreshadowing of what is to come, Psybeam which provides stellar coverage at this stage along with your Fire STAB. However the family suffers a bit of a drought here, with Fire Spin being weaker then Ember and Braixen not having the bulk to attempt trapping foes at level 22 and the somewhat useful, critical preventing Lucky Chant arriving at 27. The future begins to look bright again with Light Screen showing up at level 30 and it is a viable option for team support, given the line's good special defense. Psyshock comes merely 2 levels from evolution and provides your to be Delphox with a viable way of cracking specially defensive Pokémon. Evolution brings good Fire attacks as well with the line's signature (until ORAS) move, Mystical Fire which alongside dealing decent damage, lowers the foe's special attack (It will try to re-learn the move at level 75). Flamethrower arrives at level 42 and is a required move on any specially orienteered Fire-type given its high power and accuracy with good PP. Will-o-Wisp (level 47) allows Delphox to patch up its average physical defense while helping the team by crippling physical attackers, it even got a increase in accuracy in Generation VI (although it still has a 15% chance to miss). Psychic comes at level 51 and is interchangeable with Psyshock, just use whatever suits you or the situation best. Sunny Day (level 55) works wonders alongside any chlorophyll Pokémon you have while allowing Flamethrower more power and removing Solar beam's charge turn. Fire Blast comes a while after you get the TM and is a competent alternative to Flamethrower - harder hitting but with less accuracy and PP. Future Sight is powerful but the delay on the move and its late arrival (level 69 or a Heart Scale) means that the other Psychic options are better.
In terms of TMs and what the move relearner has to offer, the Fennekin line has a mediocre smorgasbord of moves to choose from. Shadow Ball provides anti-Psychic and Ghost coverage but in reality its better to leave these, particularly Ghost-types to the rest of your team as the major Psychics you fight are bulky and have ways of hitting back for Super effective damage. Grass Knot continues its trend of being available for all starters and provides solid coverage on a range of Pokémon, although Delphox is best avoiding what Grass attacks hit for super effective damage. Solar Beam requires Sunny Day to be viable, but hits extremely hard against Water-types, which the sun helps Delphox against. Calm Mind works well with the stat distribution Delphox has, raising its best and third best stats while Hidden Power can provide surprise coverage (ideal-types are Electric and Ice) but is rather weak.
Recommended moveset: Flamethrower / Fire Blast, Psychic / Psyshock, Grass Knot / SolarBeam, Shadow Ball / Sunny Day / Calm Mind / Will-o-Wisp
Minimum stats are calculated with 0 EVs, IVs of 0, and a hindering nature, if applicable.
Maximum stats are calculated with 252 EVs, IVs of 31, and a helpful nature, if applicable.
Fennekin Line Ratings
What Nature do I want? Modest is ideal, given that Delphox has the highest base special attack of all non-mega evolved starter Pokémon (base 114) while it's attack is average at best, Timid (+Spe -Atk) also works well as Delphox is reasonably fast to begin with and the buff could be a life saver in certain situations.
At what point in the game should I be evolved? You should have a Braixen by the time you reach Parfume Palace at the latest and a Delphox sometime between Korrina and Ramos. Don't delay evolving as Braixen gets Psybeam a level later than Fennekin and Delphox is a massive power upgrade with the moves only slightly delayed up to Flamethrower after which, its pick what suits you best.
How good is the Fennekin line in a Nuzlocke? Actually pretty decent. While it has several issues in the early to mid game, ranging from bad matchups and a poor movepool prior to learning Psyshock, the line makes up for it by an impressive mid to late game performance, with several advantages against gyms and being able to handle several key threats wielded throughout the game. The movepool issues improves after evolving into Delphox as well, making the sixth Fire starter an impressive option, even with powerhouses such as the Charizard megas being accessible from very early on.
Fennekin's and Braixen's type matchups:
Weaknesses: Ground, Rock and Water
Resistances: Bug, Fairy, Fire, Grass, Ice and Steel