Top 10 Best Pokémon in Sword and Shield
Picking your Pokémon team is one of the most challenging decisions to make in any Pokémon game. I assume the average player is like me, and choose the Pokémon that they find the most aesthetically pleasing. Decidueye was slow as heck in Pokémon Sun and Moon, yet I kept it in my party throughout my entire playthrough on Moon.
Nonetheless, not all Pokémon are created equal; some are undoubtedly better than others; few have better individual value (AKA IVs), effort value (AKA EVs), nature, and overall stats. For example, a Charizard with fantastic EVs and IVs is leagues above that of a normal Shuckle. We go into more details of what IVs are, and even go through how to get Pokémon with perfect IVs.
Pokémon Sword and Shield made the process of leveling up your IVs and EVs a lot more convenient. Medicine that increases specific EVs in a Pokémon, has become much cheaper. You can now send Pokémon out to do jobs that will enhance a particular stat for any group of Pokémon you choose. The games have made getting your perfect Pokémon all the more convenient.
Despite how simple EV and IV training has become, there is still a disparity between a few selections of Pokémon and the vast majority of them. You can max out your personal Shuckle, but no matter how hard you try, your perfect Shuckle will never beat a Tyranitar that has the precise nature and stats. Which leads to the question – which are the best Pokémon in Sword and Shield?
Top 10 Best Pokémon in Sword and Shield
Determining which Pokémon are best to use generally comes down to preference, so take this list as you will. Overall the Pokémon listed below are considered to be the best due to their high average stats and their high potential with EV training.
Gyarados has a base stat of over 540, with high attack and special defense, and this makes Gyarados a tremendous offensive fighter. It can learn plenty of moves that can cause a large amount of physical damage. It has the hidden ability of Moxie, which raises its attack stats every time it KOs an opponent. If you teach a Gyarados Dragon Dance, a move that also increases the attack stats, Gyarados can cause some of the most damaging physical attacks in the entire games. If you EV train it to have maximized speed, Gyarados can be unstoppable.
Snorlax is the definitive tank Pokémon in the series. With one of the highest base HP in the games, along with top special defense, Snorlax can take a lot of hits before going down. The real downside with Snorlax is the low stats in everything else, besides attack. In spite of that, though, Snorlax can learn a variety of right moves that helps overcomes those impressive. It can even know moves that aren’t it's type, like High Horsepower and Hammer Arm.
In the Pokémon Sun and Moon, the base stats for the starters’ final evolutions weren’t right. All three starters in those games had terrible speed and other issues. In Sword and Shield, though, the final evolutions for the three starters are pretty good. It’s hard to tell if Cinderace, the final evolution of Scorbunny, is genuinely one of the “best” Pokémon in the games. But there's something special in having your first Pokémon from the most powerful category. Cinderace’s high attack and speed make it a formable opponent, and with the right training, it can potentially become one of the quickest one-hit strikers in your team.
It may not be as fast as Cinderace, but it is more of a heavy-hitter. Rillaboom, the final evolution of the grass starter Grookey, has high base attack stats. It’s best if you EV train it to have higher special attack and special defense to make Rillaboom stronger. It's a signature move, Drum Beating, is a vital asset to have in its move pool. It may not be a powerful move, but Drum Beating does lower the speed stat of the Pokémon it hits, which helps Rillaboom overcome its low speed.
Toxtricity is primarily on this list due to its unique typing. An electric and poison-type, Toxtricity is capable of learning a variety of great moves that are very useful. Its poison moves make it an essential asset against the fairy-typing, and its electric moves allow it to paralyze its enemies. It has very high special attack stats, which is good because a lot of the best electric and poison moves are special moves. The drawback of Toxtricity is that it is extra vulnerable to ground moves, which can be the remedy if you train its defense and special defense.
Chandelure is a pretty amazing Pokémon. It is a ghost Pokémon possessing a chandelier – what’s not to love? An amazing type combination of ghost and fire and impressive special attack stats. The special combination type allows Chandelure to learn many great special attack moves like Flamethrower, Overheat, and Shadow Ball. You can EV train it to overcome its weaknesses, like its low HP and attack stat. You can also either maximize the stats where it already specializes with, like its special attack.
Pseudo-legendary Pokémon are Pokémon evolution lines where the final evolution has a base stat of 600. They are generally the strongest non-legendary Pokémon in the games, and each generation at least introduces one new pseudo line. Dragapult is the newest pseudo, making its grand debut in Sword and Shield. It has high speed and attack stats, and its unique typing makes it effective against opponents. A dragon and ghost-type, Dragapult is immune to all fighting and normal moves. It can also learn a lot of effective moves, like Dragon Dance and Phantom Force.
Tyranitar is a rock and Dark-type pseudo-legendary Pokémon first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver. It has great stats in attack and special defense. It can learn great moves like Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Crunch. Its ability Sandstorm summons a sandstorm, which damages all Pokémon on the battlefield that are not ground or rock-type. If you train it to get the highest speed it can have, then Tyranitar can be one of the best heavy hitters to use in battles. Sadly, Tyranitar’s evolution line is only available in Pokémon Shield. Fortunately, Pokémon Sword gains the Pokémon directly below.
Hydreigon is another pseudo, this time a dark and dragon-type. It has a very high attack and special attack stats, with decent stats in everything else. It is possibly the most balanced pseudo in the two games. It suffers because of its type weaknesses, as it is four-times weak against fairy. But its large move pool and incredibly stats make it a Pokémon worth owning. EV train to get max speed to go first in most battles, and hit hard with everything you got.
Zacian and Zamazenta
It may seem cheap to include Legendaries on this list, as they are supposed to be very pungent Pokémon, but that’s not always the case. Regigigas, a Legendary from the fourth generation, is terrible because its ability halves its attack and speed for the first five turns.
Zacian and Zamazenta are useful, though, having astonishing stats and good moves that make them handy. Their signature moves, Behemoth Blade and Behemoth Bash, cause extra-damage towards Dynamax Pokémon. These become valuable moves during raid battles, where you have to face against Dynamax Pokémon with a group of other trainers. They both have very few weaknesses, and they can be EV trained to have even higher stats that go beyond their base stats. Their abilities raise their stats and defense at the start of every battle, respectively. Zacian and Zamazenta are possibly two of the most useful Legendaries in the whole franchise.