Best Competitive Pokemon Item Combinations, Explained

Oak's words echoed, "There's a time and place for everything..."

When it comes to competitive Pokemon, there are many moving parts. Abilities, move sets, stat spreads, items, the list goes on. When learning the ins and outs of the comp scene, things can be a tad intimidating, so it may be best to learn the elements just one at a time. Building teams, even if they aren’t optimized all the way, can be great fun and practice for sterner competitive mons down the line. Learning how items can help you with a specific strategy and particular Pokemon help make a great team for any kind of battle.

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Specific items can work with Pokemon, depending on their abilities, movements, or other attributes. For example, if you give a Charizard the held item Charcoal, its fire-type moves will have far greater power. Stack that on top of the already good bonus with the ability Blaze (a boost in power that activates when Charizard has low health); you can do some good damage with Charizard’s fire-type moves. If you’re looking for some great item and Pokemon combinations for competitive play, consider some of the following:

Rocky Helmet and Togedemaru

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Togedemaru is the cute Pikachu-resembling Pokemon, first found in Alola. These little Pokemon may look cute and non-competitive, but they can be a force to be reckoned with if you have the right strategy. It has the ability Iron Barbs, which causes anything that touches it to lose 1/8 of its HP. If you put a Rocky Helmet on him, that increases the damage done to any physical attacker opponent. Make sure that whoever Togedemaru is fighting isn’t a Special Attacking specialist, or they may not get too far.

Scope Lens and Absol

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Using items and Pokemon in tandem is all about playing on their natural strengths. Just like Togedemaru, Absol also has an ability that can work well with a specific item. And while critical hits are up to chance, you can increase that chance by having an Absol with the Super Luck ability. Scope Lens, in case you don’t know, does something similar, increasing the chance of a critical hit. Throw some raised critical hit moves into the mix like Psycho Cut, and you have yourself a pretty good chance at dealing some double damage.

Life Orb and Gyarados

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Sometimes item strategy doesn’t have to sync with an ability or specific move set to be powerful. Often times with certain Pokemon, just increasing the brute force they’re able to dish out can solve several problems for you during a battle. Life Orb is just the item to do that, granting a boost to any move at the cost of health per turn. Since Gyarados isn’t the most defensive Pokemon out there anyway, sacking HP for Attack tends to be a good exchange, especially when they tend to strike first.

Evolite/Light Ball and Pikachu

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Another way you can use items in competitive Pokemon wisely is by acknowledging Pokemon even if they aren’t fully evolved. For example, Pikachu can use a Thunder Stone to turn into Raichu or stay the same. Just because a Pokemon can evolve doesn’t mean it has to, and items like Evolite and Light Ball are great examples of why some should stay smaller (and cuter). Evolite, if held by a Pokemon that can still evolve, improves the Special Defense and Defense of that Pokemon. In Pikachu’s case, an item called the Light Ball does something very similar. If they hold it, the Light Ball doubles their Special Attack and Attack.

Related: Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: What Are Toxic Chain Pokemon?

Black Sludge and Venasaur

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Black Sludge is an item that restores the HP of any poison type that holds it. If you want to make the most of this kind of item, the best way to do it is to give it to a bulky poison type. Who better than Venasaur? With access to healing moves, a robust set of defenses, and hefty HP, Venasaur can make great use of something like Black Sludge. Sometimes the best strategies are the simplest ones.

Eject Pack and Dragonite

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Dragonite is a great special attacking dragon type with access to a move as devastating as Draco Meteor. While this meteor-mashing move is pretty powerful, it does come at a cost: lowered stats. A lowered attack or special attack can place a hobble on your moves from then on, which is where Eject Pack comes in. With this item, as soon as any stat is lowered, the Pack activates, and you can immediately switch out your Pokemon. This strategy is perfect if you want to get off a Draco Meteor for free.

Related: Pokemon Sleep: How to Find & Recruit Shiny Pokemon

King’s Rock and Cinccino

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Cinccino may look like your average cutemon, but don’t let the adorable eyes and nose fool you. This fluffy critter is capable of racking up some serious damage thanks to its ability: Skill Link. With this, Cinccino will always achieve the maximum hit count from any multi-hit move, with no exceptions. So with multi-hit moves like Bullet Seed and Tail Slap in their arsenal, Cinccino is already a threat without any items in play. Consider the King’s Rock, an item that gives the holder’s attack a chance to make the enemy flinch. Since Cinccino strikes five times each turn, that King’s Rock just became much more useful, granting them a 10% chance to flinch with each hit.

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Jessica Oliver
Jessica Oliver is a passionate writer, editor, and story enjoyer. Writing about cartoon animals and colorful video game characters pays the bills, so she's set for life. She enjoys writing about Sonic, Super Monkey Ball, and games that are generally out of style.